Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Gerth of a Nation

Mae Marsh hearing no evil in Birth of a Nation (1915).

Why Trump was forced to fire the FBI director, according to Jeff Gerth in the august pages of the Columbia Jourmalism Review, of all places:

Trump, by the spring of 2017, was more than uneasy with Comey. In one of his chats [the ones that so alarmed Comey that he memorialized them in detail after each meeting, but Gerth doesn't mention that, or the way Trump kept asking Comey for a statement of personal loyalty] , he told the director his policies were “bad” for Russia because he wanted “more oil and more nukes” and the FBI inquiry was creating a “cloud” over his dealings with foreign leaders, according to Comey’s notes.

Because the investigation was getting in the way of his plans to get more oil and nukes. Which would be bad for Russia. Comey was actually preventing him from being bad for Russia. This had to stop! 

Finally, he had enough. Trump met with senior officials, and his deputy counsel told him that firing Comey would prolong, not curb, the FBI investigation and possibly result in the appointment of a special counsel, according to lawyers briefed on the meeting.

“The president acknowledged” the dire prognosis in the meeting, according to William Barr, who, as attorney general in 2019, oversaw the end of the Mueller inquiry. But the president didn’t care, declaring, according to Barr: “I’m still going to fire the son of a bitch.”

Barr wasn't a senior official at that point, and wasn't at the meeting he's reporting, of course, any more than he was at the meeting Trump had with Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak when Trump explained he'd had to fire the "nutjob" because, "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off." 

Gerth displaying the bear trap mind  with which he pinned down Bill Clinton's criminality in his Whitewater investigation 30 years ago. Well, he didn't actually pin down Bill Clinton's criminality, but that was his editors' fault:

Gerth claims that editors, without his knowledge, rewrote his first and best-known Whitewater article and saddled it with factual errors. The unsettling revelation, buried in a Her Way endnote, raises even more questions about Gerth, the Times, and their Whitewater misadventure. (The great Eric Boehlert, back in 2007) 

Now Gerth is jumping on The Times itself the way he jumped on Clinton back in the day, evidently in the hope of providing a road map for the House Select Committee on the Jordanization of Government when the put the paper under the microscope, but just like the early road map (for House Judiciary, I guess), it's a map of leaps that don't add up, and seem to be avoiding particular territories as much as seeking them.

So I'll be fisking more of it later.

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