The blizzard of lies and innuendo that President Trump has thrown up around this issue has succeeded in narrowing the questions that get asked to exactly the ones he wants. Was there a “deep state” conspiracy against Trump? Was the FBI unspeakably biased against him? Was the investigation into Russia illegitimate from the beginning? Even if you answer “no” to all of those questions, you’re still talking about what Trump wants you to talk about.
.. the Justice Department showed reporters their texts, then conservative media and Trump proceeded to make them famous, despite the fact that there is precisely zero evidence that their personal feelings about Trump biased the investigations they were involved in.
.. In contrast, a group of FBI agents in the bureau’s New York office seems to have been doing everything it could in the fall of 2016 to make sure Clinton wouldn’t become president.
.. As one report put it just before the election, “Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.”
.. As one agent put it, “The FBI is Trumpland.”
.. A former Justice Department official told Vanity Fair in 2017, “It was widely understood that there was a faction in [the New York] office that couldn’t stand her and was out to get her.”
.. It’s a bit curious to characterize FBI agents who rushed to tell a Republican congressman about Weiner’s laptop within just a few days of its discovery, and before they had gone through the emails to see whether there was anything problematic about them (which, it turned out, there wasn’t), as “whistleblowers.” Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said yesterday that Nunes never told him at the time.
.. there were agents leaking information about investigations into the Clinton Foundation to none other than Rudy Giuliani, who would then go and air the charges on Fox News.
.. Two days before Comey would tell Congress that the bureau had reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails — a blockbuster announcement that may well have thrown the election to Trump — Giuliani said on Fox News, “I do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact. He’s got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days.”
.. an FBI source told Fox News’s Bret Baier that Clinton’s email had been hacked and she would soon be indicted — a false story that Baier later apologized for airing.
.. Many have long speculated that Comey, knowing about the antipathy toward Clinton in the New York office, assumed that if he didn’t make it public, the information would be leaked and he’d look as though he was trying to conceal it.
.. there is a cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton.
.. we have to ask some pointed questions about the agents in the New York office. If they acted inappropriately, who were they? How many of them were involved? Were they coordinating their activities? Now that we’ve read Strzok and Page’s personal communications, should we see theirs as well?
.. perhaps the IG will in his next report, or Democrats will if they can take back Congress. Because there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that at least some FBI agents were indeed trying to swing the outcome of the 2016 campaign, and they may well have succeeded.
It turns out that in the tallest skyscrapers and plushest hotels of the most advanced economies, many high-profile men have been acting the part of feudal lords, demanding droit du seigneur from their vassals, the vassals in this case being their female employees and others wishing entry into their fiefdoms. Evidently there’s been a covert system of taxation on female advancement in the work world, with the unluckier among us obligated to render not just the usual fealty demanded by overweening bosses but varying degrees of sexual homage too, from ego-stroking and fluffing (which is gross enough), to being grabbed and groped, to the expectation of silence about full-on rape.
.. historians have written extensively on the importance of gossip and its venues, such as coffeehouses, in fomenting previous revolutions
.. Every revolution has its weapons of choice—once it was muskets and guillotines, this time around it’s “sharing” and media exposure. It wasn’t heads that were rolling, it was careers: contracts yanked, deals canceled, agents quitting, e-mail accounts shuttered.
.. When the Times recently compiled the names of twenty-four prominent men accused of sexual harassment, it did rather bring to mind the spectacle of heads on a pike in a public square
.. If recent events tell us anything, it’s that power is a social agreement, not a stable entity. The despots had power because they did things that were socially valued and profitable, but the terms of the agreement can shift abruptly.
.. Social upheavals like the current one—chaotic and improvised, yet destined—happen when certain echelons retract their consent to existing conditions and make new demands. Gramsci calls it “war of position.” Toppling power isn’t about storming the Bastille these days, it’s about changing the way people talk and think. If our upheavals come dressed in different garb, creating a crisis of authority for those in power is still how the world changes.
.. But speaking of unlikely agents, that one of the more significant battlefield wins recently was achieved by a former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, is tough for those who’d prefer their feminist victories to come from women with better feminist credentials.
.. Unfortunately you won’t learn any of this from Be Fierce—you don’t get $20 million without a nondisclosure agreement.
.. It’s from Sherman we learn that Carlson secretly recorded her meetings with Ailes on her phone for a year and a half—including his remark that the two of them should have had sex long ago to resolve their differences, spoken sometime before she was fired (after an eleven-year stint as a newscaster) and sometime after she lodged complaints about the climate of sexism at Fox, for which Ailes labeled her a “man hater” and demoted her.
.. The less job security you have, the worse it is; fast food workers are especially vulnerable.
.. Women who come forward are likely to be passed over for promotions and good assignments, or find their jobs mysteriously eliminated.
.. On rare occasions when a boss-harasser is actually fired, the woman who brought him down often gets treated like a leper by his allies. The majority of those who report harassment end up in different jobs, which makes it understandable that, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 70 percent of women who are harassed don’t report it.
.. Have a plan before you go to HR or you’ll find your options predetermined; you may have a mandatory arbitration clause in your employment contract you don’t know about
.. Trump himself boasts of barging into dressing rooms in the Miss Teen USA contest to gape at unclothed teenage girls. Upon purchasing the Miss USA franchise, he says, he “made the heels higher and the bathing suits smaller.”
.. The “idealized pedestal” Miss America gets put on is itself a form of disempowerment, Carlson eventually came to realize. True, and if you flip to your local Fox affiliate, you’ll see the same compliant femininity distilled to its purest iteration. Like beauty contestants, the women of Fox are hired on the basis of looks, then laminated into near mannequins.
.. The point is that the way Ailes expected “his” women to dress makes clear the role they were expected to play: receptacles
.. If those who signed on had difficulty speaking out about harassment in the workplace because they felt shame regarding the trade-offs they’d made—and many have said that they did—shame is what women are meant to feel in this equation.
.. The convenience of misogyny is that men are spared from hating themselves because they have women to hate instead.
.. You want to know when to tell someone to shut up and when to jump out of a moving car.
This would also involve the ability to distinguish between force and power.
.. Those who didn’t buy into it seem to have fared better. The actress Lupita Nyong’o recalled several encounters with Weinstein in an essay for The New York Times. When he trotted out his familiar moves, she refused to play the expected role: when he asked to give her a massage, she turned the tables and gave him one instead, consciously putting herself in control of the situation. When he tried taking off his pants, she walked to the door, not giving him the satisfaction of seeming intimidated. And he backed down. She seems to have understood that Weinstein may have had power over her career, but he didn’t have power over her, and making that distinction gave her more options for negotiating a bad situation.
.. Anthony Weiner has been the public face of the sexual tic for some years now: a man of demonstrable intelligence under the sway of a compulsion so intellectually disabling that after a string of previous life-wrecking exposures, he still allowed himself to be set up once again, this time by a fifteen-year-old. Anyone could have seen from ten miles away that it was a frame—anyone but Weiner, that is. (The girl later said she was trying to influence the course of the 2016 presidential election, which she probably did—James Comey reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails after seizing Weiner’s computer once his new friend turned him in.)
.. feminist Dorothy Dinnerstein’s The Mermaid and the Minotaur (1976): the problem for men is that they had mothers.
.. Mother-dominated child-rearing, thought Dinnerstein, is the reason behind men’s loathing of women and everything culturally inscribed as female
.. men can’t give up ruling the world until women cease to have a monopoly on ruling childhood. To push Dinnerstein’s speculations to an even gloomier place: do mothers take out on their sons the abuses they themselves have suffered at the hands of men?
.. Online feminism is itself a playground of bullying and viperishness, most of it under the banner of rectitude.
The emissary leaves behind a book in the Kanamit language. A team of analysts translates the title as “To Serve Man,”
‘To Serve Man,’ it’s… it’s a cookbook!”
.. For those who serve the president: The price of your diligence is his flippancy. The price of your efforts to protect him is his willingness to expose you. The price of your sacrifice — of time, profit, career and, in the long run, reputation — is his indifference. The price of your loyalty is his contempt.
.. For those who think the president’s character flaws can be softened, or overcome, by the caliber of his advisers: You can’t use water to put out a grease fire.
.. The president’s digital compulsions may be less obscene than Anthony Weiner’s, but they’re more consequential.
.. Twitter is the electric current that connects populist to populus, demagogue to mob
.. What’s a loss at the high court when he knows he can use it to capitalize politically from the next terrorist attack in the U.S.?
.. we may learn from James Comey’s Senate testimony whether Trump will have to pay a political price of his own for demanding personal loyalty oaths from nonpolitical appointees. If so, it would be fitting punishment for a man who so far has only known profit and advantage from his lack of loyalty toward those who serve him.
In fact, it’s really ironic that, right now, her most trusted adviser is Huma Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner. If there is literally anybody in America who could understand what Hillary went through, it is Huma, right now. If Huma becomes the Democratic nominee for president in 2028, then you’ll have a pretty good parallel for what Hillary Clinton’s trajectory has been.