Opinion: Ten top takeaways from the Comey testimony

(AP)

So basically, this is the crux of Thursday’s testimony from former FBI Director James Comey:

1.) Based on an alarming private dinner conversation with President Trump, Comey believed that his continued employment as FBI director was contingent on showing personal loyalty to Trump. The FBI director is not supposed to be loyal to any political figure.

2.) When Trump asked Comey in a separate private conversation to “let Flynn go,” Comey “took it as a direction”  from the president of the United States to drop an important criminal investigation into Trump’s friend and ally Michael Flynn. That is highly inappropriate and amounts to an attempt to obstruct justice.

3.) Comey did not obey the “directive” to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn. Despite repeated entreaties from the president to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation, that investigation also continued, much to Trump’s publicly expressed frustration.

4.) Trump then fired Comey. “I was fired to change the way the Russian investigation was being conducted,” Comey told the U.S. Senate, basing that conclusion in part on statements by Trump himself after the firing. Firing the head of the FBI in hopes of altering the course of an investigation is also an attempt to obstruct justice. The fact that it backfired spectacularly doesn’t alter the case.

5.) Defenders of the president argue that he simply did not appreciate the gravity of what he was doing. Yet Trump clearly, carefully stage-managed these multiple conversations with Comey so that there would be no witnesses to what was being said between them, a clear indication that he did indeed understand their gravity.

6.) Comey confirmed that he told Trump on three separate occasions that Trump himself was not personally being investigated for colluding with Russia, and that the reassurances were accurate. However, the investigation into possible collusion by others in the Trump camp continues.

7.) Even before recusing himself from the Russia investigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was being kept in the dark about its details by the FBI because the FBI considered him possibly contaminated, for reasons that Comey said he could not discuss in open session.

8.) Trump defenders are attempting to recast the investigation with Comey as the target, as if it were a probe into whether he responded appropriately to these attempted interventions by Trump.  While that’s an interesting question likely to be debated by legal ethicists for years, it is nowhere near the most pressing or important question now at issue. (Interestingly, that approach assumes that Comey is indeed telling the truth about his interactions with the president.)

9.) Trump’s private defense attorneys quickly issued a statement accusing Comey of lying, under oath, to Congress, which would be a felony.  They claim that Trump never asked for Comey’s loyalty, and never asked him to “let Flynn go.” Not by happenstance, those are also the parts of the conversations that leave Trump most exposed legally.

So we’re left to choose between Trump on one hand, and on the other hand a man who was testifying under oath and who has an unblemished reputation for truth-telling, recounting meetings based on memos that he wrote immediately after the conversations. According to Comey, he also told colleagues at the FBI about those conversations immediately after they occurred. At some point, special counsel Robert Mueller will want to interview those FBI colleagues about those conversations.

He will also want to interview Trump.

10.) The evidence already on the record would, in a different political environment, constitute grounds for an impeachment inquiry. That is clearly not going to happen until after the 2018 mid-terms, when the American people get their chance to return to the polls and express their sentiments about all this.

Reader Comments 0

2333 comments
hisine
hisine

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RantNRave
RantNRave

"Again.. Trump only has to release those "tapes" he mentioned and this issue is all over but the crying


@TBS


The only tape The Chump* has is the


SCOTCH TAPE on his ties.


heeheeheeheehee


Trump is holding his Tie in place with SCOTCH. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHWk7nGMcYY

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

If Trump told Sessions, "I'd like you to write up a memo so I can fire Comey,"  That's just an idle thought, right? 

I mean, Sessions shouldn't think he's actually supposed to do it, right?

TBS
TBS

Again.. Trump only has to release those "tapes" he mentioned and this issue is all over but the crying

Won't matter what notes Comey took and which ones were sent to the press. The recordings will clear all of this up, right?

Wonder why Trumpettes and conservatives who didn't vote for him aren't asking this same question.

But but the Comey notes

Eff those notes. Release the tapes and drop the hammer on Comey

TBS
TBS

Kellyanne was doing the two right foot clod hop just yesterday when asked

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@TBS 

I would love to know why the press isn't all over this! Hammer the point until the dear leader either produces them or admits he lied, yet again! 

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@TBS 

No shock there. Every editorial board in the media should on this issue! 

RantNRave
RantNRave

"Trump's issues will overshadow what Sessions did plus Session is a part of the "network"


@BuckeyeGa


This NETWORK?:


What do all of these people have in common?

…….Christopher Wray, Trump's new FBI director

looks good on paper, but his law firm represents Russian-controlled oil companies.

……. Donald Trump's tax law firm has 'deep' ties to Russia

Donald Trump’s law firm that he used to show no income in Russia, but with few exceptions, won an award from Russia.

Trump’s law firm won, Russia Law Firm of the Year in 2016! 

…..Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke

In December 2015, the Right To Bear Arms group hosteda delegation from the NRA. It was quite the “who’s who” of gun nuts. One of the people there was Milwaukee County Sheriff and regular on Fox News, David A. Clarke.

The NRA has a relationship with the Right To Bear Arms group in Russia.

The NRA paid part of his expenses for the trip, but the Russian Right to Bear Arms group paid for some as well. You can see in the ethics formClarke filed (last page) that the group paid for $6000 worth of meals, hotel stays, and transportation.

Clarke couldpotentiallybe on President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet as the Secretary of Homeland Security.

…….Erik Prince, Blackwater founder & Brother of Besty DeVos, Secretary of Education

The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.

…….Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump surrogate and a senior adviser

The Russia-born investment banker and attorney moderated a panel at an October 2013 conference in New York City called “Invest in Moscow!” The panel was mainly comprised of Moscow city government officials, like Sergey Cheremin, a city minister who heads Moscow’s foreign economic and international relations department.

…….Steve Bannon, White House chief strategist

Linked to Putin and Turkeuy.

…….Jeff Sessions, Attorney General

Spoke twice last year with Russian Ambassador

And did not disclose it during his confirmation.

.......Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State

Tillerson's stake in Russia's energy industry

.......Mike Flynn, Former Security Advisor

Flynn's trip to Russia in 2015 might have violated

 constitutional limits on accepting gifts from foreign

 governments, lawmakers say.

…….Jared Kushner, Chump son-in-law and senior adviser

Was at meeting between disgraced adviser

Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador in December.

Jared Kushner’s reported attempt to establish a “back-channel” line of communication between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential transition team is proving divisive, even if such talks aren’t unusual.

.......Carter Page, Foreign Policy Advisor

Carter Page, one of Trump's foreign policy advisers, 

went to Russia before the Republican convention 

.......Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary

Ross and his team invested more than $1 billion

 in the troubled Bank of Cyprus, he became one

 of its two vice chairmen. Putin appointed the other.

.......Paul Manafort, Former Campaign Manager 

Has long and deep reported ties to pro-Russian

 politicians in Ukraine

…….Ivanka Trump, daughter of The Chump*

Ivanka Trumpwas  spotted vacationing with Vladimir

Putin’s girlfriend on a yacht in Croatia.

…….J. D. Gordon, Trump campaign's national-security policy representative for the Republican National Convention

Advocated for the GOP platform to include language against arming Ukrainians against pro-Russian rebels" because "this was in line with Trump's views.  Campaign representatives are not permitted to publicly debate the merits of an amendment at a subcommittee platform meeting.

…….Jack Kingston, Trump Surrogate and former Georgia congressman

In December, 2016 Jack Kingston, briefed American businesspeople in Russia on what they might expect from the incoming administration. Kingston's Moscow trip coincided with Carter Page. The Trump campaign later distanced itself from Page after he came under scrutiny for his ties to Russia.

ANSWER:

The Chump* and Russia.

COINCIDENCE??

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

The only one that matters and who does have the Comey memos now is Mueller.  Comey passed them on to him yesterday so they are now considered to be evidence.  One thing that I told you cons a while back is FBI memos have always been admissible and considered credible evidence in a criminal investigation.  It gives me great pleasure to tell you, I told you so.  

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Denise285 If The President asks you for a reason to fire someone, you go ahead and write up a memo to support firing that person. 


Otherwise, you are also at risk of being fired. 


It may not be appropriate, but Sessions was just doing his job as asked by the President. 

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

I see SNC dashing off CYA memos all day and sending them to the local paper and her employer is fine with that.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@_GodlessHeathen_ Never said they would be fine with it.  Memos and emails coming out that your employer does not know about happens when you are no longer employed and that employer has crossed the line some how.  Again it's call CYA (Cover your a$$).

TBS
TBS

So what law did Comey break?

And are the DoJ and FBI going to persue it?

If not why do you think they wouldn't?

So far it's making the rw rounds as one hell of a talking point but not much else

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

I can't imagine this hasn't been posted, but it's the first time I've seen it:

An AJC poll reports Ossoff leads Handel 51-44.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Nick_Danger The only poll that matters now is the actual votes. 


Cry or celebrate all you want with polls going around.  But it will not matter if the final tally is different than the polls. 

TBS
TBS

Yep. If he broke a law then charge him otherwise it's a weak talking point

FBI and DoJ have no one stopping them from perusing this issue if they think Comey's actions were illegal

It's that's simple

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@TBS It's not a big deal.  Just semantics.  But IMO, Comey's "leaking" of the memo to the press, even if he gave it to a friend with a wink, who gave it to the paper, hurts his position.

TBS
TBS

And that's means exactly what as to his version of the events

Trump implied he had tapes

Does it not hurt him that he could release them and clear this up but he hasn't?

He does have the recordings, right?

TBS
TBS

So that part of is a joke

But the Comey notes issues is serious

That's cool. We all have our own perspectives

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

If Sessions actually had a third unreported meeting with the Russians, as Comey suggested, is he done?

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@Nick_Danger naw..Trump's issues will overshadow what Sessions did plus Session is a part of the "network"

skydog12
skydog12

@Nick_Danger

Yes, he is toast for the reporting errors. He may go to jail if the investigation finds Russian collusion.


This swamp draining is working out ok. We get a shot at Pence and Beuagard`s seats and Trump ruins their carriers. Win win.

rimsky
rimsky

I will tell you, our TD is regular source of entertainment when he types words that he did not mean to.  Poor fella.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

I wrote a memo a minute ago. 

I can't tell you what it says, or they'll call me a "leaker."  LOL!

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@Nick_Danger If you composed an internal or personal memo related to your work and released it the press without the consent of your employer, yes, you would be a "leaker".

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@_GodlessHeathen_ @Nick_Danger He never composed an internal memo for his employer.  He composed a memo to himself 1) because when he went to Sessions he did not do anything but sit there and stare at him with his mouth open and 2) He stated because he knew that Trump would lie about the conversations.  Where did that lie come from?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@_GodlessHeathen_

Not entirely true.  If the notes are related to insider or proprietary information, then a disclosure agreement would prohibit the release.


If they were personal notes unrelated to proprietary information, then they are his peraonal property. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@_GodlessHeathen_ @StraightNoChaser @Nick_Danger It still was not to his employer, it's call a paper trail to cover your a$$.  I do it all the time and anyone that works in the corporate world knows that there should be a paper trail too cover your a$$ just in case you end up with a slim bucket for a boss such as Donald Trump.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@_GodlessHeathen_

Completely true.  I've written both, and they're written into the same system.  We do it all the time as a case done today may end up becoming a court case 2-3 years down the road.  Those memos help remind me of how things went down at the time.  


It's virtually impossible to remember every single encounter when you cross paths with thousands of people every year.