I wasn’t going to, but I ended up watching part of James Comey’s testimony yesterday. Here are my takeaways:
- This Russia business is serious shit. They ramped up their campaign against America in 2016, and it’s not over with yet. I was a little concerned when Comey emphasized that it wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats, because that could weaken the argument that Trump’s team was colluding with the Russians. But, the reality is, Putin is interested in destabilizing the US and will align himself with whoever he needs to accomplish that. In Election 2016 that clearly wasn’t going to be Hillary since she was warning everyone what Russia was up to.
- I’m less pissed about Comey’s commentary regarding Hillary’s email issues in the last election. I don’t know why he bothered with anything in the days leading up to the election, since that clearly hurt Clinton, but the reality is that Russian bots were already hard at work spinning whatever they could for the MAGA crowd, so I don’t know how much of a difference it really made.
- Our elected officials are not looking out for our best interests. The questions about Hillary’s email issues were a complete waste of time given the point of the hearing. They were looking to give FoxNews some soundbites they could use, and they got those. They didn’t get to the heart of the issue at all: Russia’s interference and whether Trump obstructed justice.
- John McCain is out of touch with reality. I have serious questions about his ability to do his job. He kept asking about why Clinton was cleared of the Russian investigation. Try as he might, Comey could not get it through to McCain that they were separate investigations. McCain tried to clarify after the hearing what he was getting at, but he still missed the point. The email investigation was OVER. That’s why Comey could comment regarding whether Clinton had done anything criminal. At no point during his tenure at the FBI was the Russia investigation concluded to where Comey would have been free to comment on Trump’s culpability.
- Our elected officials aren’t looking out for our best interests. I want to throw this one out there again. The questions about why Comey didn’t stand up to Trump, resign in the face of questions about the administration, and why he didn’t immediately pursue an inquiry against Trump for his pressure to end an investigation completely miss the point. They’re illogical. The best way to stand up to Trump and defend America against Trump was to stay quiet and in his position to start that investigation. Resigning wouldn’t have left him in a position to do any of that.
- Comey knew from the beginning what most of us have known about Trump – he cannot be trusted. One of the senators on the panel brought up the excellent point that in the law, writings made contemporaneously with a meeting are given great weight because they’re seen as being more accurate. Comey knew what a snake Trump is and knew that, should he display any form of disloyalty, he’d be out on his ass. Basically, he did exactly what every law student is taught: He covered his ass. CYA is one of the first things you learn in law school, and if not there, definitely in practice.
- Trump obstructed justice. Some of the senators appeared to try to suggest that Trump saying he “hoped” that Comey would let the Flynn thing go (since he’d been asked to resign) wasn’t really a directive to Comey. That’s a damn big reach. Trump boots everyone out of the office and one-on-one has a serious conversation with Comey? That’s got to raise some eyebrows. It doesn’t matter that Trump has publicly shared his disapproval of the Russia investigation. He met with Comey, by himself. Comey said he felt like Trump was giving him a directive, under those circumstances. If he wasn’t trying to issue a directive, why say anything at all? Trump was attempting to influence an investigation that affected members of his team. That’s obstruction. It doesn’t matter that he (may) lawfully has the authority to direct who or what should be investigated.
- Comey did the right thing by sharing his memos. Comey testified that he shared his memos with a friend who shared them with the news in the hopes that a special prosecutor would be appointed. He knew that shit stank to high heaven in the administration and that the only way anything would truly be investigated is if there was a special prosecutor. The only way to make that happen was to drop a huge bombshell. Well done.
Of course, none of these hearings matter if Republicans won’t get their shit together and do what’s best for the country. Democracy as we know it was attacked and will continue to be attacked unless we do something. If Republicans don’t stand up now, who knows if there will be anything left to fight for.