The moment came at last today. We got to hear former director of the FBI James Comey testify against Donald Trump. No, I won’t call him “president”.
Everyone knew Trump was a lying son of a bitch. And a man who has no respect for the rule of law. It was only a matter of time before he shot himself in the foot. Hopefully now, we can work towards throwing his ass out the White House. I hope, I hope. Impeachment takes toilsome time and effort.
Comey confirmed that the star of “The Apprentice” tried to pressure him into stopping the investigation of Michael Flynn. Several times he mentioned that Trump had tried to create a “patronage relationship” with him. During a private dinner he was given the impression that his job, as FBI director, was contingent on loyalty. The words he used were “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty”. This, along with the later words “I hope you can let this go” gave Comey the impression that the the president was trying to direct him.
Here are some other takeaways from the Comey testimony:
- Comey, without a doubt, believes there was Russian interference in the election.
- He has no doubt they were behind the leaks and cyber-intrusion.
- He believes the Russian government was aware of this.
- Donald Trump did NOT ask him (directly) to stop the investigation
- Special Counsel should make the decision as to whether Trump’s actions “obstructed justice”.
- Regular foreign correspondence becomes a counter-intelligence threat when the actions become coercive (pressure to co-opt an American on behalf of a foreign power)
- He became aware of the Russian intrusion around late summer 2015
- The FBI had no “direct” access to hacked data
- Comey documented each of his meetings (nine conversations) with Trump due to suspicions regarding “circumstances,” “subject matter,” “being alone with the president,” and the “nature of the person
- Comey never felt the need to document meetings with Obama or Bush. With Trump he was concerned about blatant dishonesty/lying, so he chose to document the meetings
- There are tens of thousands of investigations going on at once in the FBI. Trump never inquired about any of the rest
- Comey believes he was fired because of the way he was conducting the investigation
- He never told Trump that his conduct was “inappropriate”, but spoke to the Attorney General (Jeff Sessions) and explained his concern towards the way Trump was interacting with the FBI. He described his initial reaction as being “stunned”.
- He asked a friend of his, Columbia law professor Daniel C. Richman, to leak his memo to the press
- Donald Trump never asked what we should be doing to protect ourselves, amidst the allegations of Russian hacking
- VP Mike Pence was aware of concerns with Michael Flynn before and up to the point where he was asked to resign
- He made sure to avoid making a public statement saying that the president was under investigation
- He was confused by the two-faced behavior of Donald Trump: initially praising him for his work, and then turning around and firing him
- He said that the Trump administration “defamed” the FBI
- Comey wanted to let Trump know that info about Russian hacking had got out in media to prepare him in advance, under that context that he didn’t want to create the narrative of investigating him personally
As to whether or not he thinks the star of “The Apprentice” colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, Comey would not answer in an open hearing.