Con man watch: Comey the God and the ad for Trump!


The marked emails which weren't:
On Tuesday morning, July 5, Comey the God strode before the nation's TV cameras.

He was about to depart from normal procedure by discussing the FBI's recommendation in a criminal case which wasn't. He knew this wasn't normal procedure. You knew that because he said this:
COMEY THE GOD (7/5/16): Good morning. I'm here to give you an update on the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's use of a personal e-mail system during her time as secretary of state.

After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the matter to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I want to do today is three things:

I want to tell you what we did, I want to tell you what we found, and I want to tell you what we're recommending to the Department of Justice.

This is going to be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I'm going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. And second, I have not coordinated this statement or reviewed it in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.
The god was breaking with normal procedure in the ways he described. He was going to discuss the case more than a person in his position normally would. Beyond that, he hadn't discussed his decision to do so with his superior at the Justice Department.

Bravely, boldly and forthrightly, he just went ahead and talked.

When the god discussed the case, he savaged Candidate Clinton. Here's what David Chalian said on CNN just as soon as Comey the God had finished his remarks:
CHALIAN (7/5/16): Jim Comey, in these comments, basically cut an ad for Hillary Clinton's opponent, if they want to use it, by talking about "extremely careless" in her handling of this.

And by the way, the two things that Hillary Clinton has talked the most about throughout this entire process of the last year is that she never sent or received anything classified at the time. Jim Comey just said that there were some e-mails sent or received that contained markings of classification, then added the extra layer that, even if it didn't contain markings, that Hillary Clinton and others around her in the position of dealing with this information should have known it was classified. That is one comment Hillary Clinton has said again and again and again that Jim Comey, in his investigation, the FBI investigation, disagrees with.
In Chalian's assessment, the god had just cut an ad for Trump! Chalian especially noted what the god had said about "some e-mails sent or received that contained markings of classification."

All along, Clinton had said that she didn't send or receive any such emails. Comey the God had now destroyed that lie, as if in an ad for Trump!

A fellow like Chalian would never say so. Nor will you ever hear Rachel Maddow discuss what we're about to say. But Comey had been remarkably disingenuous in his remarks about those "marked emails."

According to immortal Homer, the gods have always toyed with the affairs of men. So did Comey the God seem to behave in his transplendent press conference.

What did Comey the God say about those marked emails? Below, you see his exact remarks on the subject that day.

Concerning this highly fraught topic, Comey's remarks were extremely short. They were also extremely slippery. A person of moderate rectitude might call these remarks dishonest:
COMEY THE GOD (7/5/16): I think it's also important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails here containing classified information bore markings that indicated the presence of classified information.

But even if information is not marked classified in an e-mail, participants who know, or should know, that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it. And while not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department, in general and with respect to the use of unclassified systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information that is found elsewhere in the U.S. government.
"Only a very small number of the e-mails bore markings that indicated the presence of classified information," the godlike figure said. Absent-mindedly, he forgot to say what that "very small number" was!

Comey's absent-minded remarks produced the expected reaction. Instantly, Chalian said the god had contradicted Clinton on the much-bruited point:

All along, she said no emails were marked—but Comey said "some emails" had been! It was like he had cut an ad for Trump! Comey the God had contradicted Clinton on one of the things "that Hillary Clinton has talked the most about throughout this entire process of the last year!"

The New York Times continues to present this topic just as Chalian did. But in fact, Comey was conning the public about those marked emails that day. By the end of the week, it became clear that he had been working a con.

For starters, can we talk? As it turned out, the "very small number" to which he referred was a very small number:


That's right. When he testified before the House, it turned out that Comey the God had been talking about just three emails—three! Three emails, out of more than 30,000 emails in all! When Comey the God said some emails were marked, he was talking about just three!

Three emails, out of 30,000? Even if Comey hadn't been withholding key information that day, it would have been astonishing to see him handle the matter that way.

Three emails out of 30,000 is a vanishingly small number. The god was breaking normal procedure by discussing this matter at all. You'd think he'd want to be extra careful to be fair to the person he was trashing in this irregular manner.

You'd think he'd want to stress the point that he was discussing just three emails. But Comey didn't stress that point, and Chalian swallowed the bait.

Two days later, Comey was questioned his godlike decrees by the House Oversight committee. Based on what he said that day, it's hard to avoid a simple conclusion:

The God had acted in bad faith when he made his initial remarks.

What did Comey the God acknowledge before the House committee? The (three) emails to which he referred had not been marked correctly!

They hadn't been marked in such a way that a person would know they had been marked! There's no reason to think that Hillary Clinton would ever have seen any markings.

It's hard to swallow what Comey had done. In this exchange with Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Comey the God's disingenuous conduct became abundantly clear:
CARTWRIGHT (7/7/16): All right. You were asked about markings on a few documents. I have the manual here on marking classified national security information. And I don't think you were given a full chance to talk about those three documents with the little "c"s on them.

Were they properly documented? Were they properly marked according to the manual?


CARTWRIGHT: According to the manual, and I ask unanimous consent to enter this into the record, Mr. Chairman.

CHAFFETZ: Without objection.

CARTWRIGHT: According to the manual, if you're going to classify something, there has to be a header on the document. Right?

COMEY: Correct.

CARTWRIGHT: Was there a header on the three documents that we've discussed today that had the little "c" in the text someplace?

COMEY: No. They were three e-mails. The "c" was in the body, in the text, but there was no header on the e-mail or in the text.

CARTWRIGHT: So if Secretary Clinton really were an expert at what's classified and what's not classified and were following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?

COMEY: That would be a reasonable inference.

CARTWRIGHT: All right. I thank you for your testimony, Director. I yield back.
Uh-oh! As Comey the God had known all along, a classified email is supposed to be so "marked" in the header of the email.

These (three) emails hadn't been marked that way! In each case, there was a (C) marking before a certain paragraph down in the body of the email.

But there was no "marking" in the header, where the "marking" is supposed to be placed. For that reason, a person who received the email wouldn't see or know that it contained classified information unless she read all the way down to the place (which might be deep in an email chain) where the (C) would be found.

This is very unpleasant behavior. Note what Comey had done:

When he made his initial, dramatic statement, he knew he was working outside normal procedures. You'd think he'd want to go out of his way to be fair to the person he was trashing in this irregular way.

Instead, Comey worked a rather apparent con concerning those "marked emails:"

He was talking about only three such emails (3!) out of more than 30,000, but he never stated the actual number. As a result of this slippery behavior, Chalian quickly said the number was "some."

(Yesterday, in the Washington Post, a slippery fellow named Paul Ryan said the number was "multiple!" The editors let it go.)

Comey the God worked a bit of a con concerning that very small number. Even worse, and this was much worse, he knew the emails hadn't been marked in the appropriate way!

For all he could possibly know, Clinton never saw the "markings"—the misplaced markings on three emails. The God didn't mention this fact!

Comey kept quiet about some other things we won't discuss today. But on this one basic question, it's hard to believe that Comey the God had acted in good faith.

Despite this problem, all of Washington ran to proclaim the great god's giant integrity. Clinton was massacred in the polls. Maddow returned from vacation this week and has ignored this completely.

Darling Rachel was deeply involved in her usual time-wasting nonsense last night. Comey the God is far too mighty for a hustler like her to oppose.

Tomorrow: Back to the Fred Kaplan essay


  1. Bob has become a spinner for Hillary. Here he focuses on only 3 e-mails that were marked classified. However, he fails to note that when she publicly stated that the number of such e-mails was zero, Hillary knew that the true number was three. She knowingly made an inaccurate statement.

    Furthermore, Bob ignored all the e-mails whose content she should have protected:

    In total, the investigation found 110 emails in 52 email chains containing information that was classified at the time it was sent or received. Eight chains contained top secret information, the highest level of classification, 36 chains contained secret information, and the remaining eight contained confidential information. Most of these emails, however, did not contain markings clearly delineating their status.

    Even so, Clinton and her team still should have known the information was not appropriate for an unclassified system, Comey said.

    And, regardless of the quibbling, Hillary ought to have avoided all of these questions by simply using the government e-mail system, as the White House had instructed her to.

    1. Wait a minute. Timeout.

      "Hillary knew that the true number was three. She knowingly made an inaccurate statement."

      How the hell do you know what she recalled?
      Let's start there.

      If the emails were not identified correctly as confirmed by Director Comey, why would she recall them at all?

      CARTWRIGHT: So if Secretary Clinton really were an expert at what's classified and what's not classified and were following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?

      COMEY: That would be a reasonable inference

      But further, not noted by TDH, the SD the day after Comey made the announcement confirmed that the actual contents of two of those emails were not classified.

      And your final point, once again is irrelevant. Classified content cannot be transmitted via the system either. So it matters not.

      Let's be clear, these emails were sent to her by career state department employees.

    2. mm -- your response didn't answer my final point, which was

      "Hillary ought to have avoided all of these questions by simply using the government e-mail system, as the White House had instructed her to."

    3. mm -- your response didn't answer my final point, which was

      "Hillary ought to have avoided all of these questions by simply using the government e-mail system, as the White House had instructed her to."

    4. Well, actually I did address your final point, and once again, the government email system is not secure for sending or receiving classified.

      I have been over this with you numerous times, David. You don't seem to want to understand.

      And please give me the cite for when the White House instructed her to use the system.

      Now, please admit that you can no longer say she lied as you did up above.

    5. HRC was emphatic that she turned over all work-related emails to the State Department in 2014, about 30,000 emails. Yet FBI investigators uncovered "several thousand" work-related emails that she had not handed over to the State Department.

      Is this another one of those mistaken total recall problems that plague HRC?

    6. "White House says Clinton did not heed e-mail policy"

      I believe that the government system may not be totally secure. But, it's more secure than Hillary's personal system. And, lack of security wasn't her reason for her actions.

      As for lying, in some Platonic sense, we can never prove that anyone intentionally made a false statement, because we don't know what was in their head at the moment the statement was made. However, beyone this silliness, I think it's hard to argue that someone as brilliant as Hillary, who was discussing something so important to her election, didn't know the facts.

      If she really didn't know, she shouldn't have made the statement. Trump is blamed (correctly IMHO) for speaking when he doesn't know what he's talking about. If Hillary is as bad as Trump, we're screwed.

    7. That HRC "good faith" is working overtime to excuse her lying that she:

      Turned over all her work emails.

      Only used one device for email.

      Set up private server in basement for convenience.

      Never sent or received classified material that was indeed classified when she was heading Foggy Bottom.

      That the FBI was merely performing a routine "security check" on her server, but that she was not the target of a criminal investigation.

    8. mm - the words in the Washington Post are operated in violation of what the White House said Tuesday was “very specific guidance” that members of the Obama administration use government e-mail accounts to carry out official business.

      I don't see much difference between "violated very specific White House guidance" vs. "White House had instructed her." According to the Thesaurus, "instruction" is a synonym for "guidance".

    9. David, no comment on the actual content of TDH's post, where he very skillfully demonstrates how dishonest Director Comey was? I thought you were so concerned about honesty?

      I believe that the government system may not be totally secure. But, it's more secure than Hillary's personal system. And, lack of security wasn't her reason for her actions.

      And you support that with what?
      The fact that it has been documented that the state server was hacked on a number of occasions? The fact that the FBI found no evidence that Secretary Clinton's server was ever hacked? That proves to you that the SD server was more secure? That's your logic?

      They put the entire resources of the FBI to work for over a year trying to find any evidence that she was hacked and came up with nothing.

      With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked.

      We've been over this also many times before over the past year. Every thing I said has been proven true; every wish and prayer you have been spewing has been shown to be false. You struck out once again.

      You don't get to claim a consolation prize by continuing to argue that everything the investigation was about is still true.

    10. mm wrote: And you support [the superiority of the government security to Hillary's security] with what?

      The government knows that computer security is literally a life-and-death matter. They no coubt have access to an enormous budget to develop the best possible security.

      OTOH "As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton never used a password to protect her computer emails, and she was clueless about how regular emails work on a conventional computer, according to a deposition of a foreign service officer at the State Department.

      "She also continued to push for the use of her personal Blackberry phone in the Secretary’s highly-secured government suite even though National Security Agency (NSA) regulations barred its use in that office."

      P.S. mm - If you think the government security was bad despite the fortune spent, maybe you're a Tea Partier at heart :)

    11. David, your circular reasoning - the state department server had to be more secure because it had to be more secure because you say so - is idiotic and not very persuasive.

    12. Cicero,

      Was Secretary Clinton ever sent a target letter from the FBI?

      Statement from the Inspectors General of the Intelligence Community and the Department of State Regarding the Review of Former Secretary Clinton's Emails JULY 24, 2015

      "....the IC IG did not make a criminal referral - it was a security referral made for counterintelligence purposes. The IC IG is statutorily required to refer potential compromises of national security to the appropriate IC security officials."

  2. They released at least two of those three emails with the (c) in them. They are about scheduling a condolence call to the President of an African nation about the passing of the former president. Those are absolutely, positively NOT classified communications. Even if she wins the presidency, this is the kind of over-heated, exaggerated pseudo-"scandal" we are going to have to endure every single day. Welcome to Hell.

    1. @4:41

      The FBI investigation found 110 emails in 52 email chains that contained information that was classified at the time it was sent or received.

      This proves HRC lied when she claimed back in March 2015 that she never sent or received classified material.

    2. Bullshit.

      She said that before it became apparent that intelligence agencies were retroactively classifying emails which the State Department did not consider to be classified.

      Once she became aware of this interagency dispute, she clarified her statement to say that she neither sent nor received emails marked classified.

      Now, confirmed after a year long FBI security investigation, they came up with a grand total of 3, with an obscure letter (C) in the body of the email, the contents of which were not actually classified.

      Please keep in mind that this was all going on in the middle of her democratic primary campaign and she did not have the luxury to pore through all 30000 or so emails to refresh her recollection.

      "We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI," Comey told House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) during one of the hearing's opening exchanges.

      Chaffetz then asked whether Clinton lied to the public. "That's a question I'm not qualified to answer. I can speak about what she said to the FBI," Comey said.

      Asked whether Clinton lied under oath, Comey remarked that she did not do so to the FBI.

    3. Not retroactively classified. These were emails that contained Top Secret, Secret or Confidential material at the time they were sent or received. It is the material that denotes classification, not whether it has a classification marking.

      Comey wasn't interested in HRC lying to Cogress while under oath, or lying to the American people.

      The FBI investigators did not record HRC's interview with them so who knows what questions they asked of her in their perfunctory check the box interview after Willie met with AG Lynch.

    4. You can keep lying about it all you want.

      They were not marked classified. The State Department does not agree that the material was classified or should have been. As Secretary Clinton was the ultimate authority for material developed by State Department personnel, she had ultimate authority to determine if the material was classified.

      Out of the 52 email chains Comey referred to containing 110 messages ( basically, someone sending her something and her replying, thank you ), only 8 such chains were deemed to be highly classified.

      The contents of 7 of those chains had to do with the CIA drone program news report in the New York Times.

      If you're so concerned about security, hunt down the CIA person(s) who leaked this information to the New York Times

    5. @mm

      Interesting you characterize all those who repeat the FBI's conclusions as liars, but you refuse to acknowledge HRC's lies about her private server.

      Could you provide a lie HRC told that didn't involve her private server that you concur was indeed a lie? Or is it your contention that HRC has only told the truth to the American people throughout her professional and political career?

    6. The FBI conclusion was that she did not lie and she broke no laws and there was no basis for an indictment.

      Now the sick bastards with Clinton Derangement Syndrome want to LIE and insist that everything they were saying was true anyway. Fuck off. This year long ridiculous witch hunt is off.


      Disappointed Dunsky.

      You lost. Everything you've been hoping and praying for has disappeared in a cloud of dust. You don't win a consolation prize. This is the real world, we don't do Affirmative Action for Wingnuts here.

      Secretary Clinton did not lie, the Director Comey explicitly stated that was his and his team's conclusion.

    7. Doesn't the exchange here really point out just how right Bob Somerby is? If only Rachel spoke up these anti-Clinton falsehoods would be stopped from spreading among her audience.

    8. Rachel is a child. She just doesn't have the chops to cover a story like this.

    9. Thank heavens our Bob is loaded with chops and full of stroke.

    10. Trump will win. It's more obvious than ever. Then all you fools can act surprised and offended.

    11. @mm

      No indictment? How could the FBI recommend an indictment concerning a "security review" where HRC wasn't even the target as you and your fellow Clintonistas kept insisting for the last year?

      HRC's poll numbers keep sinking as a result of her lies about her private email server. It is wishful thinking on the part of Hillary Rosen and Brian Fallon and David Brock that the impact of the FBI investigation is behind HRC.

    12. hehehe

      Clinton Leads Trump in Diverse Battleground States in New Polls
      by Mark Murray

      Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in four of the most diverse presidential battleground states, according to brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

      Clinton is ahead of Trump by eight points among registered voters in Colorado, 43 percent to 35 percent; a combined 21 percent say neither, other or are undecided.

      In Florida, which decided the 2000 presidential election, she's up seven points, 44 percent to 37 percent; the rest are undecided or prefer someone else.

      In North Carolina, a state Obama won in 2008 but lost in 2012, Clinton leads by six points, 44 percent to 38 percent.

      And in Virginia, Clinton's advantage is nine points, 44 percent to 35 percent.

      "With 66 electoral votes at stake in these four states, Donald Trump is playing catch-up against Hillary Clinton," says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

    13. HRC is such a strong candidate she is tied with a reality TV show star.

      "Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Tied at Only 40 Percent in Latest National Poll"

      "Just last month, Clinton was leading Trump by six points, with Clinton at 43 percent of the voters polled and Trump at 37 percent. Clinton’s numbers have been declining steadily since April 2016 when she was leading Trump by ten points at 50 percent, while Trump had 40 percent. Then in May, Clinton was leading Trump by just six points at 47 percent, while Trump had 41 percent."

  3. FBI confirms to Senator Grassley that HRC was under a criminal investigation, not some unheard of "security review."

    "Case Briefing Acknowledgement"

    "The purpose of this form is to maintain an official record of persons knowledgeable of a highly sensitive Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence investigation,"

    "The Cyber Division also simultaneously supports FBI priorities across program lines, assisting counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and other criminal investigations when aggressive technological investigative assistance is required."

  4. Clinton could not have known maintaining an e-mail system outside official government agency control could be turned into a political problem, as it now has been. Liberals in the press did not cover the War on Clinton-Gore unless they participated in it. How could she have known?

    1. @6:32

      It isn't a political problem. It's a competency problem.

      “I don’t think our investigation established she was particularly sophisticated with respect to classified information and the levels and treatment.” FBI Director Comey

    2. I don't think Donald Trump is particularly sophisticated with even a 7th graders level of understanding of our system of government.

    3. @mm

      I'm sure your callow opinion of Trump has cachet with fellow Howler Clintonistas, but comes up short when compared to the gravitas of FBI Director Comey's analysis of HRC.

  5. Conservatives have to lie about emails, the server, and Benghazi.
    How else are they going to criticize HRC, by truthfully pointing out she's in the pocket of corporations?
    ha ha. Never gonna happen.

    1. @Robert

      Where have you been? HRC's Wall Street speeches and her Clinton Foundation have been fodder for conservatives for the last decade. In case you missed it, Wall Street is supporting HRC for POTUS.

    2. "in case you missed it, Wall Street is supporting Hillary Clinton for President of the United States."

      As factually bankrupt as the comrade cicero is morally bankrupt.

      That's Madame President to you, comrade. Read it, learn it, live it.

    3. Ahh yes, cicero. If there is anything conservatives hate, it's Wall Street.
      Ha ha ha ha ha.
      Next you'll tell me they care about small business owners because they mention it in speeches.

      So, standard question to all conservatives: are you a liar, or just a gullible rube?

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