Under the bated breath of the Trump-hating Left (and more than a few locals who’d packed out the D.C. bar scene), former FBI Director James Comey took the stand at Thursday’s hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, expected by liberal media pundits to skewer President Donald Trump.
After only a few hours in the hot seat, Comey’s testimony had reduced their narrative in complete shambles.
Aside from the fact that folks in D.C. will use any excuse to take a day off work and head to the bar, here’s what we learned during the first episode of the Comey hearing.
1. Trump was never under an FBI investigation while Comey was director.
Buuuuuuut Comey wouldn’t actually say that at the time.
According to Comey (and much to the dismay of the anti-Trump media hacks over at CNN), the former FBI director actually did inform President Trump during a private dinner meeting that he wasn’t being investigated by the FBI.
Comey added he wasn’t super forthcoming about that information, though, saying he only told Trump when the issue came up in conversation.
2. Trump never asked Comey to drop the FBI probe into Russia.
Comey also admitted during the hearing that Trump never tried to interfere with any investigation into Russia’s interference with the U.S. presidential election.
3. Trump also never asked Comey to drop the Flynn case.
While Comey did allege Trump told him he “wished” the FBI would drop the investigation into Michael Flynn’s Russia connections, he admitted the president never actually asked, ordered or otherwise directed him to do so – though he claimed he “took it as, this is what he wants me to do.”
Except that Trump never actually demanded anything of the sort.
4. Comey admitted he lied for the Obama administration, which wanted to help Hillary.
While he apparently refused to publicly state there was no active investigation into Donald Trump while serving as FBI director, it appears Comey was more than willing to lie for the Obama administration when it came to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices.
“At one point the Attorney General had directed me not to call it an investigation but instead to call it a matter which confused me and concerned me," Comey said, referring to former Obama AG Loretta Lynch.
"I don't know whether it was intentional or not, but it gave the impression that the attorney general was trying to align how we describe our work with the way the political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate,” he added.
“This isn’t a hill worth dying on, so I just said okay, the press is going to completely ignore it, and that’s what happened,” Comey admitted.
5. The New York Times got a lot of stuff really, really wrong.
Comey openly stated that a February New York Times article claiming the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with Russian intelligence” was simply “not true.”
“In the main – it was not true,” Comey said. “The challenge -- and I’m not picking on reporters -- about writing stories about classified information is that people talking about it often don’t really know what is going on. And those of us who actually know what’s going on aren’t talking about it. And we don’t call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there.”
6. James Comey is a big leaking leaker who leaks.
Comey admitted that after he was canned from the FBI – which he’s apparently still pretty cheesed about – he asked a buddy of his over at Columbia Law School to leak the memos he’d been keeping of his conversations with Trump to the press.
"The president tweeted on Friday, after I got fired, that I better hope there's not tapes," Comey said during the hearing. "I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night, because it didn't dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape."
"And my judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter,” he added.
"I didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it," Comey said.
The public hearing was followed up by a closed-door session in the Senate. But unless that second half takes a significant turn from the first, it appears Donald Trump may emerge from this latest witch-hunt pretty unscathed, while Comey – and Loretta Lynch – may come out a bit worse for the wear.
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