James Comey, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stepped forward today to tell his side of the strange saga that has swirled around him and President Donald Trump. He was fired on May 9, 2017, by Trump, and the rumors and speculation that permeated the narrative led to Comey being called before the Senate today.
Comey provided a written testimony to the committee beforehand that outlined his interactions with Trump and his thoughts about those meetings and phone calls. Those notes were used during the hearing to lead lines of inquiry and to break down Comey’s actions and decisions.
However, one of the biggest points of interest that came out of the session was Comey’s opening statement.
Here are some quotes:
“I understood that I could be fired by a president for any reason or for no reason at all,” he said. “And on May the ninth, when I learned that I had been fired, I immediately came home as a private citizen. But then the explanations, the shifting explanations, confused me and increasingly concerned me.”
“So it confused me when I saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “And learned from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the Russia investigation.”
“The administration then chose to defame me — and, more importantly — the FBI by saying the organization was in disarray and that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.”
The hearing provided the opportunity for Comey to expand on his prepared statements, and he did confirm his testimonies many times during the open session. Here are my takeaways from the hearing.
- Comey was smart to document his interactions. While some may view this as a throwback to the J. Edgar Hoover FBI days, you cannot say that he did not have cause to be wary of what was occurring during these meetings and calls.
- The second-guessing of his actions was a little harsh at times. Anyone in his position, especially considering the president he was dealing with, would have been hesitant to act in a forceful or contrary manner. Trump had already fired several people who didn’t do what he wanted, so Comey had to walk a fine line. Yes, he could have done things differently, but he was never grossly incompetent.
- That being said, Comey isn’t completely innocent. He didn’t comport himself well during the election and he may have done things a little wonky after he was fired, in regards to who he showed the memos of his meetings. The unfortunate side effect of being Director is trying to play politics while trying to keep politics away from the rest FBI. He did not navigate that treacherous path well.
- I don’t think a whole lot will come of this testimony, despite the bad light that has been shown on Trump. Yes, Trump did some things that were inadvisable and fired Comey for reasons that could be viewed as obstruction, but there’s little evidence besides conjecture and Trump’s own bluster and Twitter tantrums. There may be evidence that comes out to support other investigations, but Comey’s session with the Senate will not be the lynchpin. The real difference will be made by Robert Mueller and his special investigation.
- Russia will continue to be a cloud over Trump and his administration. His actions, words, and those of his constituents will continue to haunt them until the bitter end. This train has gathered too much steam at this point, and I think it’s going to go off the tracks sooner than later.
I implore you to watch the testimony for yourself. There is a lot to digest, and I only covered a broad overview. Remember, we live in an age where we have to be informed and knowledgeable, and we cannot allow ourselves to become numb or blind to the things that influence or affect our lives.
Watch the full testimony by following the link below.