On Thursday, Former FBI director James Comey testified before a Senate Intelligence committee. While his testimony was not as shocking as some had expected, Comey did presumptively say that President Donald Trump lied. He didn’t go so far as to suggest obstruction of justice charges. However, he did deal a strong blow to the image of the White House with his statements.
A G-Man Betrayed
The hearing went on for approximately 3 hours, and overall, the most damaging points came from the opening remarks.
Comey’s tone could be observed as communicating a feeling of betrayal. He clearly had no issue calling the President out:
…The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple. And I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them, and I’m so sorry that the American people were told them.
The topic of Russian intervention was tackled quickly at the beginning of the hearing. Comey stated conclusively for the record that Russia had intervened in the 2016 election. But the far-left was also left disappointed: many accusations of deep collusion with Russia were squelched.
Specifically, Comey doubled down on a false New York Times report. When asked by Wisconsin senator James Risch about the article, Comey replied consistently:
RISCH: Okay. So again, so the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?
COMEY: In the main, it was not true. And again, all of you know this. Maybe the American people don’t. The challenge, and I’m not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is the people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on, and going on are not talking about it. We don’t call the press to say, hey, you don’t have that thing wrong about the sensitive topic. We have to leave it there.
At one point, there was a heated exchange between Senator John McCain and Comey where McCain pressed the former FBI director for the truth. McCain cross-examined the situations surrounding the closure of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation while simultaneously keeping the Trump investigation open. The senator asserted that a “double-standard” could be going on when it came to the two former candidates. McCain also emphasized how the Russian intervention affected the election as a whole, and not just one candidate.
The Trump Response
President Trump’s attorney, Mark Kasowitz, was quick to respond to the testimony. He emphasized that Trump was not under investigation for colluding, and did not direct agencies to do anything illegal.
…Admiral Rogers testified that the President never “directed [him] to do anything . . . illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate” and never “pressured [him] to do so.” Director Coates said the same thing. The President likewise never pressured Mr. Comey.
…In sum, it is now established that there the President was not being investigated for colluding with the [Russians] or attempting to obstruct that investigation.
Additionally, Kasowitz pointed out that Comey himself leaked some information published in news reports. The unauthorized disclosure of “privileged” communications between Comey and press affiliates is now on public record, and potentially incriminating under oath.
In any case, it’s clear the Trump administration is not backing down anytime soon.
It’s clear that in the weeks and months to come, there will be a strong war of words coming from both sides of the aisle. The Russian interference narrative may be losing steam, but the “obstruction of justice” claim may live on for quite some time. Ultimately, I presume things will remain as they are today. As it stands, it’s Comey’s word against that of the President.