The Comey Testimony

June 9, 2017

In case you had more important things to do on Thursday than watch the James Comey Senate testimony (say, if unlike practically everyone in Washington, you actually had a job to go to), here’s the full video and transcript. It’s good to see or read the whole thing, because both sides are cherry-picking the parts that make them look good and the other side look bad.

I’d point out, though, that you can sense a difference even in the carefully-edited excerpts some people are citing. The anti-Trump crowd is pulling out Comey’s negative comments about Trump – that he found what he said about the Flynn investigation inappropriate; that he accused Trump of lying about FBI staffers having lost confidence in him; etc. – but notice that they tend to be Comey’s personal feelings or interpretations of what Trump said or intended. And even Comey admitted that none of them are incriminating or amount to obstruction of justice.

But the things Trump supporters are pulling out – that Comey hid behind a professor friend to leak a private conversation with the President to the New York Times; that he did tell Trump on three occasions that he was not the target of an investigation, just as Trump claimed; that many news stories based on anonymous sources were wrong, like a Times story claiming that Trump’s campaign aides “had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence;” that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch interfered in the Hillary Clinton investigation (telling him to call it a “matter,” not an investigation, which it plainly was); that Trump didn’t try to kill the Russia investigation but just wanted it finished up soon because it’s distracting him from doing what Americans elected him to do, etc. – all are revelations of fact, not personal opinions.

Also worth noting is that Comey’s own testimony cast doubt on his veracity on several occasions. For instance, his defenders would have us believe that his note to himself about what Trump said in their private meeting is somehow believable because he claims to have written it down right away. But it’s still just “he said/he said” hearsay. I could write down the lyrics of “Sweet Home Alabama” and claim it’s a transcript of a conversation I had with Chuck Schumer. That doesn’t magically turn it into proof. And considering Comey admitted he did it so that he could secretly leak it to the media via a third party and force the appointment of a special prosecutor is manipulation piled on top of dishonesty. Frankly, it taints all his testimony. It does prove one thing, though: Donald Trump’s instincts about whom to fire are still right on the money.

Finally, my favorite comment on the whole liberal narrative implosion came not from a pundit or politician but from an anonymous poster on an Internet comment board, who asked this: So Comey could tell that Hillary wasn’t trying to obstruct justice when she used hammers and Bleach Bit software to scrub her email server, but he couldn’t tell that Trump wasn't trying to obstruct justice when he used the word “hope" to express that he was just hoping for something?