Trump and Comey. Comey and Trump. Who was the winner; who was the loser? Undoubtedly, many of you were riveted to your tv Thursday hoping/expecting to witness something memorable, something “Watergateesque.” If so, you were sorely disappointed. There was no “aha” moment, no “smoking gun.” For the most part, what you got was “he said, he said.”
There was something for everyone. If you hate Trump, you would conclude he tried to intimidate Comey into (a) backing off on the investigation of Flynn’s purportedly inappropriate communications with Russia, (b) publicly announcing that Trump was not a target of any FBI investigation, and (c) giving Trump a “loyalty oath.” When those tactics failed, he fired him, unjustifiably.
If you like Trump, you would conclude that Comey testified under oath that Trump was, in fact, not under investigation, and (b) there was no evidence of collusion or obstruction. Furthermore, the closest revelation to a “smoking gun” was Comey’s admission, under oath, that he had leaked, the content of his private meeting with the president. Whether or not the actual content was classified is irrelevant. It demonstrated a lack of loyalty and trust, led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, which may not have been justified otherwise, and may be justification for further investigation. In this case, the ends most certainly did not justify the means.
Comey claimed that Trump “defamed” both him and the FBI, itself, by asserting that the bureau was “poorly led” and many agents had “lost confidence” in Comey. In my view, the FBI has been poorly led. Exhibit A is the manner in which Comey handled the disclosure of the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. He managed to displease both the Dems and the GOP. Now, the Dems conveniently forget that immediately before and after the election they were heavily criticizing Comey’s job performance and wanted him fired. Now that Trump has done so, they are defending him. Tell me, does that abrupt “about face” make any sense?
In addition, Comey testified that he felt uncomfortable being alone with Trump. Well, boo hoo! Yes, Trump can be arrogant and tough, but the head of the FBI has to be tough also. We have all had arrogant, tough or obnoxious bosses. One has to learn to deal with them. It’s as simple as that.
Incidentally, where was Comey’s “discomfort” when his former boss, Loretta Lynch, met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix to discuss their “grandchildren” (which Lynch does not have) and their “golf game,” which Lynch does not play? Was it just coincidence that shortly thereafter Lynch instructed Comey to characterize the investigation of Hillary’s emails as a “matter” rather than an “investigation” prospectively? That was clearly improper, if not illegal, yet Comey did not speak out about it. “Inconsistent” would be the overly polite term to describe Comey’s performance during the past several months.
For his part, Trump (a) denies he ever asked Comey to “let go” of the Flynn investigation; and (b) denies he asked Comey to “pledge allegiance.” He added: “I hardly know the man……. Who would do that?”
Trump’s succinct summary of the day’s events says it all, in my opinion: “No collusion. No obstruction. He’s a leaker.”
In my view, the only crime that Comey’s testimony disclosed was his own leaking. In addition to his own admitted leaking, there is a suspicion he may have been the source, directly or indirectly, of the other leaked information that has plagued the Trump administration. In this regard, Trump had previously stated that he had launched an internal investigation. Furthermore, according to multiple news reports Marc Kasowitz, his attorney in this matter, is planning to file complaints with both the inspector general of the Justice Department and the Senate Judiciary Committee. We will see how that plays out.
I have a feeling that this was only Round 1. The Senate’s and Special Prosecutor’s investigations are ongoing and will likely linger for several months. The media loves this. It drives ratings. It will do its best to keep the story alive.
Where do the “Trump haters” go from here? First, they tried challenging the voting results in the Electoral College. That failed. Then, they claimed there were voting “irregularities.” That proved to be false. Then, they claimed the Russians had hacked the voting machines to benefit Trump. That has been proven to be false. Finally, they hung their hats on Comey’s testimony. That was also a dud. So, I repeat, what is next? They would be better served in admitting they lost and analyzing the reasons why, or else they will repeat the same mistakes and lose again in 2020.
The big losers in all this will be the American people. As long as the government’s focus remains on these investigations, Trump’s legislative proposals regarding healthcare, border security, the economy, tax reform, and other matters that urgently need to be addressed will not be able to proceed.