Saturday, April 20, 2019

Literary Corner: I'm Sorry I Wasn't a Robot

Gorilla Rescue Machine Brooster robot by Kelvin/PaperCraftSquare.

From a conversation with George Stephanopoulos:

Why I Said That Countless Members of the FBI Had Lost Confidence in the Leadership of James Comey Before He Got Fired Although That Was Not True

By Sarah Huckabee-Sanders
I said the word I used, ‘countless,’ and
I also said, if you look at what’s
in quotations from me, it’s that and it’s that
it was in the heat of the moment, meaning
that it wasn’t a scripted talking point. 
I’m sorry I wasn’t a robot like the
Democrat Party that went out for two-
and-a-half years and stated time and time
again that there was definitely Russian
collusion between the president and his
campaign, that they had evidence to show
it, and that the president and his team
deserved to be in jail. That he shouldn’t be
in office, when really they were the ones
that were creating the greatest
scandal in the history of our country.
It's not lying if it's in the heat of the moment. Who among us has not, in the throes of some strong emotion, said things were countless when they were in fact eminently countable? In fact when you think about it pretty much nothing is literally countless. Just because it hasn't been counted yet doesn't mean it won't be.

Though that's not, in fact, what she's alleged (by herself) to have said in the heat of the moment. That's the slip of the tongue. The hot moment, according to the Mueller report (see excerpts at bottom), was when she was claiming that "most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director," which was also the remark that, she told investigators, "was not founded on anything."

Which would seem to conflict with her suggestion on television yesterday morning that it was in fact founded on something:
“If you look at what I said, I said the ‘slip of the tongue’ was in using the word ‘countless,’ but there were a number of FBI, both former and current, that agreed with the president’s decision, and they’ve continued to speak out and say that and send notice to the White House of that agreement with the president’s decision,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I said that it was in the heat of the moment, meaning it wasn’t a scripted thing,” she added on “CBS This Morning.” ‘’But the big takeaway here is that the sentiment is 100% accurate.”
I guess the fact depends whether the non-countless "number of FBI, both former and current" is equal to "the rank and file of the FBI" but then the accuracy of the fact, she now says, isn't really relevant, because her sentiment is 100% accurate.

Which might explain the excursus on the robotic Democrats; she's acknowledging, apparently, the factuality of the "Russian collusion between the president and his campaign" even though Mueller has declined to assert it himself, but their sentiment is so inaccurate that it's a scandal, and not just any scandal, but the biggest in American history, which is also sentimentally totally true, though perhaps not factual at all. Her sentiment is unimpeachable!

Sanders told reporters that the President, the Department of Justice, and bipartisan members of Congress had lost confidence in Comey, “[a]nd most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director. Accordingly, the President accepted the recommendation of his Deputy Attorney General to remove James Comey from his position.”479 In response to questions from reporters, Sanders said that Rosenstein decided “on his own” to review Comey’s performance and that Rosenstein decided “on his own” to come to the President on Monday, May 8 to express his concerns about Comey. When a reporter indicated that the “vast majority” of FBI agents supported Comey, Sanders said, “Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.”480 Following the press conference, Sanders spoke to the President, who told her she did a good job and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments.481 Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from “countless members of the FBI” was a “slip of the tongue.”482 She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made “in the heat of the moment that was not founded on anything.
She was also lying to the reporters about Rosenstein, by the way, though it seems Stephanopoulos didn't get around to asking her about that; he didn't do anything "on his own":
At noon, Sessions, Rosenstein, and Hunt met with McGahn and White House Counsel’s Office attorney Uttam Dhillon at the White House.421 McGahn said that the President had decided to fire Comey and asked for Sessions’s and Rosenstein’s views.422.... The President agreed and told Rosenstein to draft a memorandum, but said he wanted to receive it first thing the next morning.434 Hunt’s notes reflect that the President told Rosenstein to include in his recommendation the fact that Comey had refused to confirm that the President was not personally under investigation.435 According to notes taken by a senior DOJ official of Rosenstein’s description of his meeting with the President, the President said, “Put the Russia stuff in the memo.”436Rosenstein responded that the Russia investigation was not the basis of his recommendation, so he did not think Russia should be mentioned.437 The President told Rosenstein he would appreciate it if Rosenstein put it in his letter anyway.438 
And it's important, because it's more evidence of Trump's intention to obstruct the Russia investigation when he fired Comey: Rosenstein's (legitimate) objection to Comey, as you'll recall, was over the director's mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email issue, when he went over the head of attorney general Loretta Lynch to make some very improper public announcements on two occasions, but here we see Trump ordering and cajoling Rosenstein to make it about "the Russia stuff"; he didn't just want to fire Comey, he wanted to do it in such a way as to deligitimize the investigation.

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