I probably missed about half of James Comey’s testimony this morning, so I’m still playing catch up. Still, a few things stand out.
👉 James Comey said when asked if he thought Trump was trying to obstruct justice, “I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that’s an offense.” IE, special investigator Robert Mueller is probably investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
👉 When asked to confirm any part of the infamous Steel Dossier, Comey replied, “I don’t think that’s a question I can answer in an open setting because it goes into the details of the investigation.” Sen. Burr tried to get Comey to talk about the Steel Dossier a couple of times, but Comey rebuffed him and wouldn’t talk about it in a public hearing. There are totally pee tapes, you guys.
👉 Sen. Warner asked why Comey started keeping detailed notes on his contacts with Trump, and Comey replied, “I was alone with the president of the United States, or the president-elect, soon to be president. […] I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document. […] I knew there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself, but to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution and the Independence of our investigative function.”
👉 When asked about his meetings with Trump and the “patronage” type exchanges with him, Comey says, “My common sense, again I could be wrong but my common sense told me what’s going on here is, he’s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job.”
👉 Sen. Feinstein asked Comey if he thought the Russia investigation played a role in why he was fired, and Comey responded “THE PRESIDENT SAID SO RIGHT ON TV.” Okay, not exactly, but yeah, almost exactly. Heh.
👉 James Comey asked a friend to share the existence of his memos with newspapers specifically because it might prompt the appointment of a special investigator. He did so because Trump mentioned there might be tapes of their conversations, and if there are tapes, then those tapes might be hard evidence of obstruction of justice.
👉 “Yes, sir. There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. They did with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. It was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community and the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get. It is very, very serious, which is why it’s so refreshing to see a bipartisan focus on that. This is about America, not about a particular party.” – James Comey on whether or not Russian election hacking is “fake news.”
👉 Senator Kamala Harris seems to have spent most of her questions setting up a run at Jeff Sessions for violating his recusal from matters pertaining to Russia.
James Comey put on a hell of show. In his very careful, precise way, he invited everyone to wonder what exactly was being investigated regarding Trump and the Trump campaign/administration team. He implied that even though there hadn’t been a criminal investigation of Trump at the time, that might have changed since the firing. He made it clear that the election had been futzed with by the Russian government and implied that Trumpsters were involved. He implicated Mike Pence in the whole Flynn debacle. He gave some pretty damning testimony.
The sad thing about it is that since everything rests on the shoulders of the GOP, Comey’s damning testimony might not matter at all. Every consequence that could or should be levied against Trump, the Trump administration, Russia, or whomever, must be levied by a Republican controlled Congress. And the Republicans seem to making it pretty clear that they intend to go down with the Trump ship.
- Politico: Full text: James Comey testimony transcript on Trump and Russia
- NPR: Trump’s Lawyer Fires Back After Comey Testimony
- Washington Post: Here is the full statement of Trump personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz
- Politico: Will Comey’s Testimony Matter?
- Josh Marshall: Let me share a few thoughts on the Comey testimony.
- Washington Post: McCain explains what he was trying to ask Comey
- Vox: James Comey’s troubling testimony about President Trump’s conduct, explained
- Politifact: Three times James Comey’s testimony contradicted Donald Trump