Comey Day

James Comey testified to the Senate committee yesterday. I watched part of it and listened to part of it. A few thoughts:

  • Overall, I found Comey to be credible. I’m no fan of either Comey or the FBI, but he crossed me as straight-forward and truthful. Certainly more believable than the deranged yam he used to work for.
  • This wasn’t the slam dunk Trump opponents were hoping for (or claiming). Comey’s testimony — which I’ll get into in a moment — was damning but not conclusive. As I’ve said, his allegations are elements of obstruction of justice but not obstruction itself. We’re still a long way from that. But the things he described were, at best, wildly inappropriate.
  • Trump and the Trumpistas are claiming vindication. This is mostly because Comey confirmed that Trump himself was not under investigation for collusion with Russia (yet). But that’s not really relevant here. Nixon didn’t actually burgle the Whitewater hotel. When it comes to obstruction, the obstruction itself is the crime, regardless of whether an actual crime was being covered up or who committed said crime. And the failure of that obstruction does not obviate the obstruction. See Libby, Scooter.
  • It is telling that the one thing Trump wanted thoroughly investigated was the pee tape. Everything else, including Russian interference with the election, was of disinterest to him.
  • The most damning testimony was that, at one point, Trump sent everyone out of the Oval Office, sat down alone with Comey and said he hoped that Comey would see his way to clearing Mike Flynn and later said he wanted the Russia investigation to go away. Republicans are weaseling, claiming this was just Trump expressing interest in the investigation. But if my boss tells me he “hopes” I’ll do something and then fires me when I fail to do it, I will take that as more than just “hope”. That solo meeting is probably the most telling. As Comey testified, Trump never asked about any other investigation. If you were bothered by Bill Clinton meeting on the tarmac with Loretta Lynch on the tarmac, you should be bothered by Trump meeting alone with Comey. And vice versa.
  • One line of defense that emerged was that Trump is new to this and didn’t know these conversations with Comey were inappropriate. I’m finding this explanation wanting. I know they were inappropriate and I’m just an internet rando. Trump has been a candidate for two years. That he cleared out the room before talking to Comey indicates that he knew it was wrong. Ignorance of the law is never an excuse for us. It shouldn’t be for, you know, the President.
  • Comey’s testimony did not do Loretta Lynch any favors. While she was not engaged in obstruction, she was certainly trying to give political cover to Clinton. That is, to say the least, not the Attorney General’s job.

So, overall, a bad day for Trump, but just one more piece of the emerging drama.

Comments are closed.

  1. louctiel

    So the guy who admitted to leaking documents and misrepresenting facts under oath was “straight forward and truthful?”

    Did you write this and forget it is not April 1st?

    Thumb up 0

  2. AlexInCT

    Ask the Obama admin Cress. They threw so many people in jail and destroyed the careers of so many political enemies for leaking documents they didn’t like being leaked.

    In Comey’s case, he broke the law and politicized the FBI. That’s a big deal.

    Thumb up 0

  3. Hal_10000 *

     he broke the law 

    What law did he break?  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

    So the guy who admitted to leaking documents and misrepresenting facts under oath was “straight forward and truthful?”

    As opposed to the flying trapeze artist of bullshit, Donald Trump? Absolutely.

    So do you guys download these remarks straight from the RNC? Or do you think of them all by yourselves?

    Thumb up 3

  4. ilovecress

    Ask the Obama admin Cress. They threw so many people in jail and destroyed the careers of so many political enemies for leaking documents they didn’t like being leaked.

    Here’s the thing. We’re all conflating ‘leaks’ into one big thing. Leaks are a part of the business of public affairs. All it means is a journalist getting something that they won’t attribute to a specific person before they get an official statement/media release. Quite often, you do it on purpose – to control the narrative, to deflect away from a story, to put up a test balloon, or sometimes just to keep a press relationship. It’s a way to influence policy, decision making and perceptions – that’s used all the time, and is actually valuable to a political discourse.

    If there are leaks that are unhelpful to what you’re trying to achieve, then it’s because you haven’t got your own house in order and on message. The fact that there are so many leaks shows how badly the communications wing of the administration is running things.

    My guess is that Trump is used to having people sign NDAs, so he’s not used to this way of things working.

    The  there’s the completely separate issue of leaking classified information, which is kind of like an NDA. Leaking something you’re not legally allowed to IS bad, and should be investigated. But Whitehouse Staffers telling reporters about comments they heard around the watercooler is just bad leadership.

    Thumb up 2

  5. Hal_10000 *

    Perfectly stated, Cress.  I would add there does not appear to be anything illegal about the stuff Comey leaked.

    Thumb up 2

  6. louctiel

    As opposed to the flying trapeze artist of bullshit, Donald Trump? Absolutely.

    So your standard of saying Comey is “truthful and a straight shooter” is not that he actually is truthful and a straight shooter, but rather in your opinion he is more truthful and more of a straight shooter than Trump.

    Moral relativism anyone?

    So do you guys download these remarks straight from the RNC?

    Did you think of your post while spending time in second grade?  “He did it too and did it worse!” is not a defense to morally questionable actions.

    Or do you think of them all by yourselves?

    Says the guy who parroted the DNC talking points.

    I get it Hal.  You hate Trump. That’s fine.  But a defense of one person lying and being a weasel like Comey is not “that person is more of a lying weasel.”

    If you think Comey leaking documents and misrepresenting facts under oath makes him a hero, that’s fine too.  You’re entitled to your opinion.  To me, Comey came off as a disgruntled employee who was fired for cause and now wants to get back at the person who fired him.  It is a shame that you back such churlish behavior.

    Thumb up 0

  7. ilovecress

    Ioucitel and Alex – I’ll ask again, what’s your problem with Comey leaking his memo?

    Also (genuinely asking from my Blue bubble) what facts were misrepresented/lied about?

    Thumb up 1

  8. CM

    Moral relativism anyone?

    Actually this seems to be what the Trumpians are relying on heavily – it doesn’t matter how many lies Trump tells, or the ramifications of them, because Obama lied at least once. That’s what I keep getting told.

    Thumb up 2

  9. Hal_10000 *

     I’ll ask again, what’s your problem with Comey leaking his memo?

    Also (genuinely asking from my Blue bubble) what facts were misrepresented/lied about?

    I’ll second that request. Again.  And Comey was not fired “for cause”.  There were no allegations of unethical behavior.  Trump has admitted he fired him because he wanted the Russia investigation closed.  That’s not “cause”.  That’s corruption.

    Thumb up 1

  10. louctiel

    I’ll ask again, what’s your problem with Comey leaking his memo?

    The issue would be that he never said a word to Trump that he disagreed or was troubled by what Trump had said.  Instead of acting like the “straight shooter” Hal thinks he is, he went behind the President’s back.  He didn’t even have the guts to release the memo himself but rather released it through an intermediary.

    That’s the problem I have with Comey releasing the memo.  It was the act of a coward (his words) and a man without intestinal fortitude.

    Also (genuinely asking from my Blue bubble) what facts were misrepresented/lied about?

    His timeline on when the NYT published the article and his release of the memo is off.  He stuck to it but the facts shows he was either lying or misrepresenting those facts.  That’s not exactly what we should want or expect from the nation’s “top cop.”

    That’s what I keep getting told.

    So now the rational is Comey can be a liar and gutless because Obama was not as bad as Trump?   That’s where you are going with that?

    Thumb up 0

  11. ilovecress

    It was the act of a coward (his words) and a man without intestinal fortitude.

    So? I get that you don’t like the clandestine methods of leaking through anonymous sources – but that doesn’t really change anything does it? Just as it doesn’t change anything when the Whitehouse leaks deliberately.

    His timeline on when the NYT published the article and his release of the memo is off.

    Kasowitz has got that wrong. The article he’s talking about isn’t anything to do with the memo. The first article is that there was a dinner, sourced to two associates. Then the president tweets about tapes, then Comey Leaks the memo, then there’s the NYT story about the memos.

    Just so I’m clear, is it of your opinion that Comey is making all this stuff up? And if so – what do you think the version of events is? Because I’m missing any alternative version being put forward.

    Thumb up 0

  12. AlexInCT

    What law did he break?  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

    Look up the Hatch Act Hal. Just because the dnc operatives with bylines have been real busy confusing people shouldn’t make you as stupid as CM.

    And don’t worry: I did catch on that absolutely none of you douches addressed the point that you couldn’t be bothered that Obama did everything you now pretend Trump did and are so angry about.

    Double standards being the only standards and all that..

    Thumb up 0

  13. ilovecress

    Look up the Hatch Act Hal.

    Huh. So you’re saying that Comey broke the law by releasing the letter? Weird, because I thought that people who thought that were just:

    a tantrum being thrown by assholes that figured the laws were there only to serve them on their mission, and didn’t apply for them. Fuck these idiots for that.

    Now I don’t know who to believe!

    (As an aside. Did we ever find out which spineless coward without intestinal fortitude in Congress leaked that letter. It was probably a Democrat.)

    Thumb up 0

  14. Hal_10000 *

    That Hatch Act? Seriously? That’s all you’ve got?  LOL. Boy, your arms must be ten feet long to make that stretch.

    Thumb up 1

  15. louctiel

     

    So?

    So when Comey had a chance to be a “straight shooter and truthful,” he wasn’t.

    We also now know that his testimony that he only created memos on Trump was not the truth.

    I get that you don’t like the clandestine methods of leaking through anonymous sources – but that doesn’t really change anything does it?

    Do you really think that Comey not having any integrity as the nation’s top cop doesn’t change anything?

    In your opinion, does a “straight shooter and truthful” person act in a manner that is in fact not “straight shooting” or “truthful?”  If Comey was such a straight shooter, why did he not release the memo directly rather than through an intermediary?

    As he himself said, he is a coward and I can’t see calling a coward when it comes to moral choices as “straight shooter and truthful.”

    Just so I’m clear, is it of your opinion that Comey is making all this stuff up?

    We know that Comey’s testimony and statements were at best a misrepresentation and at worst a lie.  Whether he is making it up, or whether that is how he viewed it in his mind is not the topic here.

    And Comey was not fired “for cause”.

    The letter that Trump sent to Comey said he was being terminated on the basis that the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General had stated that Comey had lost the ability to lead the FBI.

    The inability to lead when your job requires leadership is cause” by any definition.

    Thumb up 1

  16. AlexInCT

    The letter that Trump sent to Comey said he was being terminated on the basis that the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General had stated that Comey had lost the ability to lead the FBI.

    Remember when the left made this same argument and demanded he be crucified because they wanted to blame him for pointing out Clinton was a crook and he was told to let that go by the DOJ? That same revelation we got when he testified BTW of a real crime that should be investigated unlike this nonsense with the reds?

    As usual they were for his firing until they were against it because it fit their narrative and double standards…

    Thumb up 0

  17. Hal_10000 *

    The letter that Trump sent to Comey said he was being terminated on the basis that the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General had stated that Comey had lost the ability to lead the FBI.

    Yes, except that we know this was bullshit. We know that he had not lost the confidence of the FBI. At all. And we know — Trump stated — that Comey was fired over Russia.  Trump has admitted that the letter was a lie. But keep trying please.

    As usual they were for his firing until they were against it because it fit their narrative and double standards…

    This is deliberately obtuse. You can think an employee is crap and still think it’s wrong when your boss fires him for uncovering misbehavior within the company.

    Thumb up 1