The Comey Congressional testimony was supposed to be a shocker. Instead, it turned out to be a big yawn with Democrats’ dreams of obstruction charges dashed.
Senator McCain who was supposed to ask tough questions apologized for not being coherent due to lack of sleep from watching a late Diamondbacks game.
Headlines range from vindication to impeachment. They both cannot be correct.
How to Play the Game
The Intercept says JAMES COMEY, A WASHINGTON OPERATOR, KNOWS HOW TO PLAY THE GAME.
James Comey cut an impressive figure during his sworn testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. His presentation was poised, low-key, and almost cold-blooded as he laid out what amounted to a meticulously constructed case against President Donald Trump. Two overflow rooms and multiple live network broadcasts suggested that Comey’s mastery of public relations and the theater of government rivaled that of his former boss. The image of a decent government man dutifully saying his piece stood in defiant contrast to the atmosphere of vulgarity and naked self-interest that Trump has brought to the Oval Office.
Comey Hearing Good For Who?
If Comey knows how to play the game one ought not find a Wall Street Journal opinion piece entitled Comey Hearing: Not Good for Comey.
The Hill reports Trump lawyer accuses Comey of ‘improperly’ leaking memo to press.
Marc Kasowitz, the president’s outside attorney, said that Comey “admitted” to sharing the contents of memos recounting the fired director’s private interactions with Trump with a friend, who then leaked them to the press.
“Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president,” Kasowitz said, suggesting Comey may have committed an offense.
“We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated,” the attorney said.
Is that playing the game well? So well that Trump cheered?
CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta made this Tweet.
Acosta says “I believe in #realnews.” It would be refreshing if CNN would practice that motto too.
Comey Slams NY Times’ Fake News on Russia Probe
For those of you who continue to consume anonymously-sourced news from the likes of CNN, NYT, WAPO, etc, as pure fact and a perfect substitute for actual, unbiased journalism, while blindly ignoring the overwhelming evidence which continues to suggest these outlets are simply pushing a sensationalized narrative aimed at bringing down an administration of which they disapprove, please consider Comey’s testimony from earlier today in which he describes a February NY Times story, which alleged numerous contacts between Trump associates and Russia, as “almost entirely wrong”
[Senator Tom] Cotton [to Comey]: “On February 14 the New York Times published a story, the headline of which was “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.” You were asked earlier whether that was an inaccurate statement and you said you said ‘in the main.’ Would it be fair to characterize the story as ‘almost entirely wrong?'”
Back on May 9th, the White House released the letter that President Trump sent to former FBI Director James Comey informing him that he’d been relieved of his duties at the FBI. Within that letter, Trump awkwardly inserted a sentence thanking Comey for informing him “on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
Here’s the full sentence “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.” (full post: Trump Fires Comey)
Not surprisingly, this statement set off alarm bells at CNN and other MSM outlets because, if true, it would put a real damper on their “Trump colluded with Russian hackers to stage a coup” narrative. Therefore, those outlets set out on a mission to ‘prove’ that Comey never made those statements and that, by definition, Trump clearly lied about his past interactions with the former FBI Director.
And not long after setting out on that mission, courtesy of those infamous ‘anonymous sources’, CNN and ABC struck gold when they confirmed that “FBI Director James Comey is reportedly set to testify he never told President Donald Trump that he was not under investigation.” Here is a summary of CNN’s reporting from their primary echo chamber, HuffPo: “Former FBI Director James Comey is reportedly set to testify he never told President Donald Trump that he was not under investigation in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to CNN and ABC News”
And here is the original CNN reporting:
Fake News Dilemma
Acosta says “I believe in #realnews.”
It seems like Acosta should resign and find another outlet. But where would he go?
It’s a real dilemma.
Comey Testimony Clears Trump
The Hill reports Dems’ dreams dashed as Comey testimony clears Trump.
The much-anticipated day had finally arrived. Democrats breathlessly awaited the testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey, certain that his testimony would topple Trump. But high hopes turned to dashed dreams when Comey’s testimony cleared President Trump.
1. There was no investigation into President Donald Trump.
Not only did the testimony vindicate the commander in chief, it included a startling revelation that Obama-era Attorney General Loretta Lynch attempted to influence the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton.
2. The mainstream media accusations of Russian collusion were inaccurate.
On Feb. 14, The New York Times reported based on infamous anonymous sourcing “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence.” Today, we learned that story “was not true,” in the words of Comey.
In fact, the story so upset Comey that he surveyed the intelligence community to see if there was something he was missing. He took the extra step of seeking out Republican and Democratic senators to say that the article was not factual.
Comey went further in his testimony pointing out the problem with the media’s anonymous source reporting. “The people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on,” he said, later adding, “[T]here have been many, many stories reportedly based on classified information … especially about Russia that are just dead wrong.”
3. No one ordered Comey to stop an investigation.
Sen. Richard Burr bluntly asked Comey, “[D]id the president at any time ask you to stop the FBI Investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections?” “No,” Comey replied. Comey then went on to confirm that no one working in the administration asked him to stop the investigation either.
Comey’s admission that he was not ordered to drop the investigation aligns with Wednesday’s testimony from NSA Director Mike Rogers and DNI Director Dan Coats. Rogers testified, “I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate.” Coats likewise said, “I have never been pressured” nor have I “felt pressure to intervene.”
4. No votes were altered in the 2016 election.
5. Attorney General Lynch tried to influence the Clinton criminal investigation.
Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch rightfully came under heavy fire for secretly meeting Bill Clinton on a tarmac just days before his wife, former Secretary of State and presidential contender Hillary Clinton, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the FBI. Today, we learned Lynch tried to influence Comey by asking him to call the criminal investigation a “matter,” not an “investigation.”
The request “confused me and concerned me,” said Comey, who saw this as an effort to ask the FBI to coordinate its messaging with a political campaign.
Taken together, when pushed on providing evidence of Russian collusion over the past few months, Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein were forced to admit they had none. “Newspaper stories,” she cited last month to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. The same newspaper stories Comey called into question today.
McCain Make Bumbling Statements
Senator McCain, not a fan of Trump, was supposed to ask tough questions. Instead, McCain was not coherent.
At one time, McCain referred to Comey as president Comey. It was so bad McCain was forced to Clarify Bumbling Statements.
Although much of James Comey’s testimony Thursday offered new insight on his interactions with President Trump, the hearing ended with a whimper rather than a bang. Sen. John McCain, the last senator to question the former FBI director, pursued a line of questioning connecting the Russian meddling investigation to Hillary Clinton’s emails, leaving much of the public confused.
“I think there’s a double standard there to tell you the truth,” he said.
McCain said that he still had a lot of questions about the matter, and suggested at one point that Clinton had been investigated for involvement with Russian interference, rather than her usage of a private email server.
The longtime senator stumbled through his words at points, and referenced Comey as President Comey, presumably confusing him with Trump.
Some social media users said that the slipups may be the result of age, though McCain, 80, later blamed a lack of sleep.
“I get the tense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads. Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games,” he said in a statement.
The Other Side
Those wishing to hear the “other side” of the story can easily find it.
Richard Wolffe writing for the Guardian says Comey’s testimony shows the impeachment machine is warming up.
“Make no mistake: Comey’s testimony was effectively the first hearing into what will surely become the impeachment of Donald J Trump,” says Wolffe.
My comment: Please be serious unless your goal is to perpetuate fake news or imitate The Onion.
Sure Impeachment? Really?
I have no idea what alternate universe Wolffe lives in, but opportunities clearly await someone of his obvious talent at CNN or the Onion. In retrospect, the Onion might be a better choice.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock