The Comey Before the Storm: a Question of Truths

As Former FBI agent James Comey sat before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, there existed one irrefutable fact: Mr. Comey possessed something that neither Trump nor his administration would ever possess…integrity. Comey’s testimony was sincere, admirable, and whether meaning for it to be or not, it was deadly to Trump’s presidency.

During the hearing Comey engaged in a conversation with Americans, the kind that Trump could never have. Comey answered questions openly and candidly. He never used the word hero, but he did use the word “cowardly”. I use the word humility. In Canadian courts often judges rely upon the credibility of the witness giving testimony based in part on their willingness to speak the truth as the witness believes it to be, the candor of their testimony, their ability to simply be believed or not. Forgetting for a moment the fact that most of Comey’s contemporaneously made notes have already been handed over to the FBI, no question remains as to who is more credible of the two witnesses.

“[The president] …repeatedly told me was doing a great job and hoped I would stay.”

Comey’s version of events pitted against Donald Trump’s with his locker room talk and schoolyard bully tweets. The much-lauded “He said/He said” defense may no longer afford the Republicans the shelter from the Comey’s testimony they believed it would.

Comey spoke in detail about the numerous one-on-one conversations, the phone calls, the awkwardness of the interactions between he and Trump. Comey, in a mixture of pain, pride and perhaps vindication, noted that the president had publicly pronounced that Comey was a “showboat” and that “the FBI was in turmoil”. Comey stated that the president’s words were a “lie”. A big, fat, orange-haired lie.

The President, “repeatedly told me was doing a great job and hoped I would stay,” Comey stated calmly under oath. Yet, here the ex-director of the FBI sits, fired and defamed by the President of the United States. Meanwhile now acting Director Andrew McCabe, weeks earlier had also publicly contradicted President Trump, stating, “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the F.B.I. and still does…the vast majority of F.B.I. employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.

Photo Credit: Van Huy Nguyen

If McCabe is correct there is no doubt the FBI will be further emboldened after their leader was terminated and their organization besmirched. Obviously President Trump has not heralded Jimmy Malone’s warning from the Untouchables, “You’re muckin’ with a G here, pal!”

As others have commented, one can’t help but wonder what President Trump was thinking when he terminated Comey, but wait, we don’t have to wonder because on May 11, 2017 during a televised interview with Lester Holt, Trump told us exactly what on his mind—Russia. The president stated, “…in fact when I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story…”.

What Comey refused to do was speculate in regard to obstruction of justice stating at this time that was not his job. In fact, Comey’s job was to uphold his pledge of allegiance to the people of the United States and to its constitution, a job for which it seems he was punished for having done so. He is the first to say that the FBI will go on, that no one person is indispensable. Heartfelt. Bold. Credible.

Many of the questions asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee still remain publicly unanswered by Comey. Inquiries such as whether or not the FBI was able to confirm any criminal allegations in the Steele document? Does Comey believe Trump colluded with Russia?

Comey refused to answer any of these questions publicly, resulting in a palpable silence. Later that day the hearing was reconvened behind closed door  where presumably Comey would be able discuss details, he was not at liberty to discuss in a televised hearing. As for Trump? Ironically and uncharacteristically, the president did not take to Twitter that day. More silence.

Photo Credit: Pete Souza Twitter

Shortly after the Comey testimony, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein wrote to Chairman Chuck Grassley recommending that the committee investigate all matters related to obstruction of justice and use its subpoena authority if necessary. In a brief interview CNN, Mr. Grassley indicated he would be agreeable to the request.

It seems that what Comey was reluctant to say publicly has become the foreboding breeze, the whisper and warning of things to come. Trump’s short-sightedness in the firing of Comey, and his subsequent testimony has set into motion a series of events, like legal dominoes. Yes, there is a storm brewing and it has Trump’s name all over it.

First Published June 10, 2017

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