The James Comey Show: Hijinks and High Drama
Nothing against Broadway, but when it comes to good theater not much can beat The James Comey Show.
James Comey’s performance this morning in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee played to rapt audiences nationwide and packed bars in D.C. The spectacle shut down the Nation’s Capital like a blizzard. (Though what was being shoveled wasn’t snow.)
The Comey Show rolled out in three acts.
Act One: Trashing Trump
Former FBI Director James Comey did not come to praise Donald Trump but to bury him.
Comey said Trump administration comments about him were “lies plain and simple.” He typed up detailed memos of their chat because he was “honestly concerned (Trump) might lie about the nature of our meeting.” Comey felt important to get them written down because he had sensed he would someday need to defend the FBI.
Indeed ( the orchestra swells), Trump’s comments were an assault on the FBI itself.
Comey expressed befuddlement at the reasons behind his firing. Clearly Trump was out to”defame” him and the bureau. Still, of the many reasons offered by Trump and the White House, Comey has now settled on one: He was fired because of his role in heading the Russia investigation.
In his words, “The endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal.” He claims this had a “chilling” effect on the investigation.
However, under further questioning, Comey acknowledged the investigations haven’t been affected at all.
So, did Donald Trump obstruct justice? Comey declared it wasn’t for him to say. (Considering he said under oath in May he wasn’t obstructed, he could hardly say otherwise now.) However, he did reveal Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible obstruction of justice. And why is there a special counsel? You’ll have to wait until the shocking third act.
Meanwhile, Senator Jim Risch seemed to have slammed shut the book on the case for obstruction. Comey says Trump told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting … Flynn go.” Even in Comey’s version of events it was not a direction. It was an expression of hope. Said Sen. Risch, “You don’t know of anyone who has ever been charged for hoping something, is that a fair statement?
As the curtain falls on Act One, the obstruction charge against Trump seemed to go “poof.” But the curtain soon rises and the spotlight hits Loretta Lynch.
Act Two: Trashing Others
The Scene: Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is no longer sitting on a government plane with Bill Clinton. She’s being squashed under James Comey’s bus.
Comey revealed under oath that Lynch had directed him to avoid calling the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email antics an “investigation.” Lynch directed him to call it a “matter.” Not, “I hope you call it,” mind you. This gave Hillary Clinton cover during the campaign to falsely deny she was under investigation. The order made Comey “queasy.”
(Comey’s symptom of feeling queasy or uneasy around those more powerful would recur over and over again. Hardly becoming for a guy tasked with helping stop terrorists. But we digress.)
Also, Comey felt Lynch’s tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton was so improper it motivated him to go public with the FBI’s findings in the Hillary investigation.
Lynch wasn’t the only character to bite it in the second act. The media were taken down as well.
Comey declared that news reports on the Russia investigation based on leaks were trash. “There have been many, many stories based on — well, lots of stuff, but about Russia that are dead wrong.” The New York Times in particular was cited for a story claiming that the Trump campaign and other associates had “repeated contact with senior Russian officials in the year before the election.” Comey agreed with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) the story was “almost entirely wrong.”
The New York Times must not have been too happy. The liberal giant soon tweeted out a rather unfriendly reader comment.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 8, 2017
Which leads us to our third act, whereby the hero who speaks of independence, honesty, and the shining city on the hill, unveils his true, dark, colors.
Act Three: James Comey Trashing Himself
In a stunning admission, Comey confessed that he used a “close friend” on the Columbia law faculty to leak his Trump meeting memos to the media. “Make sure this gets out,” he told friends. (Almost word-for-word what former State Department official Evelyn Farkas told MSNBC she had hoped to do with classified intel on Russia and Trump.)
His mission: To force the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.
Let’s put aside the twisted irony that the man responsible for finding leakers was himself a leaker. Let’s also put aside, for now, the question of what else the FBI director may have leaked about Trump over the past year.
James Comey confessed to leaking the details of privileged conversations with the President of the United States. “One of which he testified was classified,” observed Trump’s personal lawyer.
George Washington University legal scholar Jonathan Turley says this admission could put Comey in legal jeopardy. “Besides being subject to Nondisclosure Agreements, Comey falls under federal laws governing the disclosure of classified and nonclassified information.” Further, “those memos could be viewed as a government record and potential evidence in a criminal investigation.”
Didn’t see that one coming.
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld tweeted he sensed Comey had prepared for the hearing by studying the works of West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin.
I sense James Comey prepared for this hearing by watching any number of Aaron Sorkin dramas.😢
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) June 8, 2017
Little did Gutfield know that by show’s end Comey is Col. Jessup in Sorkin’s A Few Good Men.
Col. Jessup spends the first two hours presenting himself as the epitome of strength and American virtue. Then after bellowing the immortal line “You can’t handle the truth!” Col. Jessup implicates himself in a serious crime. As Jessup is being read his rights, he shouts, “What’s going on here?!? I did what I had to do!”
Whether what Comey “had to do” was criminal is to be determined. Whether he’s been acting out of justice or vengeance awaits the verdict of the American people.
However, as pure theater, The Comey Show deserves a round of applause.
And what was your review?
To read the full script of today’s performance along with the statement from President Trump’s personal lawyer, click here: Comey Hearing Transcript.