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What We Learned From Comey Thursday

13 Juin 2017

Fired FBI Director James Comey has said there should be "no fuzz" about Russia's role in influencing the 2016 USA election that brought Donald Trump to the White House, as he cited a "campaign driven from the top of that government" with goal and technical sophistication.

The leaders of the House of Representatives intelligence committee said on Friday they've written to Comey, following the sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation director's testimony he made notes about his talks with Trump on Thursday. In that testimony he had already disclosed that Trump demanded his "loyalty" and directly pushed him to "lift the cloud" of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign's Russian Federation ties.

"I think it just drove some points", said Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor.

"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Comey said, suggesting such evidence would back up his account over the president's. I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. "I didn't say that and I didn't say the other". He did the same thing on January 27, after Trump requested his "loyalty" at a private dinner. "And there would be nothing wrong if I did say it according to everybody that I've read on Friday, but I did not say that", he said.

The victor for most egregious headline and article came from Salon, calling the Comey testimony Trump's "I am not a crook moment" and declaring that "Now it's the cover up, not the crime".

"After former President Clinton met on the plane with the attorney general, I considered whether I should call for the appointment of a special counsel and decided that would be an unfair thing to do because I knew there was no case there", Comey testified, speaking of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server. "Who would do that?"

But most Democrats have a far different view of the Comey impact and are eager for the congressional and special counsel investigations to unfold. The issue of the Trump election campaign's relationship with Russian Federation has dogged Trump's first months in office and distracted from his policy goals such as overhauling the United States healthcare system and making tax cuts.

Two hours after the hearing ended, Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, gave a six-minute press conference purporting to rebut Comey.

Trump vs. Comey: Lawmakers turn up heat on president about contradictory claims
And based on Mueller's reputation for keeping developments out of the headlines, we don't expect to anytime soon. The president was pissed off that the Russian investigations were casting "a cloud" over his administration.

Trump has now called Comey a liar, and with his "100 percent" offer to testify under oath-if indeed that ever happens-the two men are on a legal collision course.

Trump Jr. specifically said on the air, "When he tells you to do something, guess what?"

The president added that he would soon have an answer on whether or not those recordings existed.

"I'm not hinting at anything", Trump said, but then he teased, "You'll be very disappointed".

In his testimony, Mr Comey jumped to the heart of the political controversy around his firing and discussed if the president interfered in the bureau's Russian Federation investigation. The US Constitution does not directly address whether the president can be criminally prosecuted, and the area is the subject of legal debate.

In April, the New York Times reported that Comey began jotting down his interactions with Trump after a January 6 meeting at Trump Tower, following which the former FBI Director felt Trump was apparently seeking favours.

That came almost a decade after Comey, whom Trump recently derided as "a showboat", first stepped onto the national stage with testimony about his hospital visit with the attorney general to prevent the reauthorization of a domestic surveillance program.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication.and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" he tweeted.

What We Learned From Comey Thursday