June 8th, 2017

Comey’s testimony: in the eye of the beholder, like most things Trump

Today James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. You can see highlights here, and as well as many tweets on the subject. And you can see a large sampling of the summaries and points of view on the testimony here.

I haven’t watched, although I plan to see some excerpts. I tend not to do auditory processing very well, plus I have a very busy day with some important family matters. But I’ve certainly read recaps from both sides, and I have my own reaction.

There actually isn’t very much that’s new about the Comey testimony, because the gist of it was leaked prior to today. Of course, Comey is fleshing out the details, which will be discussed endlessly. One new fact is that Comey is backing up Trump’s assertion that he told Trump three times that he wasn’t under investigation. The press had reported this as untrue—based on its usual unimpeachable anonymous but supposedly well-informed sources—and, like so many things the press prints, that was incorrect. Trump and Comey actually more or less agree on this particular issue.

Another thing that was revealed today (IMHO) is that Comey was in an adversarial position to Trump from the start. When I say “adversarial,” I’m speaking in emotional terms, not strictly legal ones. Comey left every conversation and immediately wrote down his own recollection of what had happened, in great detail, in order to both protect himself and document the exchange.

And that documentation forms the basis for his testimony. Not only is it completely one-sided (as one might expect; after all, this is Comey telling his story), but it cannot be rebutted except in a he-said/he-said manner. This gives Comey a great deal of power to make or break a president, and everything depends on his own integrity, his freedom from bias, and his memory for a conversation in which he was not a disinterested party.

As a person who has studied human interactions and observed them based on that study, I have to say that very very few people would be capable of recording such a conversation accurately. At one point in my life I was in a situation where I worked with families and couples and each session was recorded. So I had an unusual opportunity—I was able to check out, against the actual record, my own perceptions about conversations as well as the accuracy of the recall of others about those conversations. It turns out I’m pretty good at it but certainly not perfect, and most people I saw were not particularly good at it at all.

Therefore I doubt that Comey is recreating these conversations with Trump with exact accuracy—and that’s not just him I’m talking about, that’s anyone who might be in the same position. Comey’s not a court stenographer, after all, nor is he a recording device.

Plus, Comey was “concerned” about Trump from the very start:

“And then the nature of the person [Trump]. I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

This is what I mean by “adversarial.” Ordinarily, such an attitude doesn’t make for objective reporting, even if the person is trying very hard to be objective and even if the person honestly thinks he/she is being objective. This is a general rule of human interaction to which Comey is hardly immune. And some of the things he says that could harm Trump are in the form of Comey’s own reactions, feelings, perceptions, interpretations, and hunches, rather than “just the facts, ma’am.”

Some of it is about language, as in the case of Trump’s “honest loyalty” quote. That’s where Trump’s idiosyncratic way of expressing himself makes it unclear what he was getting at:

[Trump] then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.” As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further. The term – honest loyalty – had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect.

On the contrary—it could have been extremely productive to “push it further.” If Comey thought Trump’s asking for “loyalty” was a no-no, he owed it to America to “push it further.” But he did not.

I think I may know what Trump actually meant. It’s always risky to try to read someone’s mind—and Trump’s in particular—but I think Trump probably meant something like “lack of bias against me.” In other words, lack of disloyalty. That would make sense for him to wonder, in the anti-Trump atmosphere of Washington DC. Trump didn’t appoint Comey, and Trump is surrounded by previous appointees who are quite frankly against him, and I believe (without being able to prove it) that Trump sensed that Comey was suspicious of him, and wanted to be reassured that this was not the case. In that context, the term “honest loyalty” is understandable.

There’s plenty more to say about Comey’s testimony, and plenty of people have said it. You can follow the links I gave earlier, plus I would recommend this piece by Alan Dershowitz. I choose him because he’s a liberal Democrat and hardly a Trump supporter, and also a sharp guy who’s highly conversant with the law and yet does not always follow the party line. You might say that, in many instances in the past, I’ve found him to be “honestly loyal”—to the truth of the law. Here’s what he has to say about Trump and obstruction of justice:

I write this short op-ed as Comey finishes his testimony. I think it is important to put to rest the notion that there was anything criminal about the president exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and to request – “hope” – that he let go the investigation of General Flynn. Just as the president would have had the constitutional power to pardon Flynn and thus end the criminal investigation of him, he certainly had the authority to request the director of the FBI to end his investigation of Flynn.

I have one more observation: Comey’s testimony is further proof that Trump’s not a lawyer, and Comey is. When I say that, I’m not just trying to be cute. What I mean is that we’ve had a lot of lawyers as presidents, including the most recent one, Obama, and a rather well-known one, Bill Clinton. Hillary would have been still another lawyer. Many Trump supporters like Trump for that very reason—he’s not a lawyer, and doesn’t talk like one. But it’s a disadvantage when he’s tussling with someone like Comey.

63 Responses to “Comey’s testimony: in the eye of the beholder, like most things Trump”

  1. arfldgr Says:

    They are NOT in the eyes of the beholder, the dems came out much worse with the lynch tarmac clinton thing and other things… and there was NADA on trump actually

    even crazy wacko TINGLES had to admit it
    and he never admits things

    In his written and spoken testimony on Thursday, Comey said that he never felt that Trump had tried to impede the FBI’s investigation into Russia, even that the president had encouraged it and he suggested that former national security adviser Mike Flynn wasn’t at the heart of the investigation.

    In his written and spoken testimony on Thursday, Comey said that he never felt that Trump had tried to impede the FBI’s investigation into Russia, even that the president had encouraged it and he suggested that former national security adviser Mike Flynn wasn’t at the heart of the investigation.

    Thanks to the dems, and their BS, i made a nice load of money this morning!!!! and will make a bigger load over the next two weeks… its like a barneys basement sale for stock… as the libs panic at their reality which isnt real and so make bad investments, and those that have a better grasp of reality benefit.

    i listened to the whole testimony and i would check articles against transcripts as some are saying things that were not there, but they “thought” were there!! or ignore what was and go on with the other thing

  2. arfldgr Says:

    This is NOT honest:

    I write this short op-ed as Comey finishes his testimony. I think it is important to put to rest the notion that there was anything criminal about the president exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and to request – “hope” – that he let go the investigation of General Flynn. Just as the president would have had the constitutional power to pardon Flynn and thus end the criminal investigation of him, he certainly had the authority to request the director of the FBI to end his investigation of Flynn.

    its twisted…
    the part of the testimony that is key to the above was the question of whether or not what he said was something to do, or just said.

    and the KEY part of it was the term HOPE
    waht the dishonest writer left out was this question

    had anyone ever been convicted of hoping something would happen? to which comey said not to his knowlege.

    Ending the whole point!!!

    where is that? whay wasnt it not included after the author implies they watched it all.

    Here, the same point from Zero hedge
    [found it looking for the transcript line ot post here]
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-08/obstruction-justice-case-totally-dismantled-senator-risch

    Risch: “Boy you nailed this down on page 5 paragraph 3, you put this in quotes, words matter, you wrote down the words so we could all have the words in front of us now. There are 28 words there that are in quotes and it says, ‘I hope’, this is the President speaking, ‘I hope you can see your way claer to letting this go, to letting Flynn go…I hope you can let this go.'”

    “Now those are his exact words, is that correct”

    Comey: “Correct.”

    Risch: “And you wrote them here and you put them in quotes?”

    Comey: “Correct.”

    Risch: “Thank you for that. He did not direct you to let it go.”

    Comey: “Not in his words, no.”

    Risch: “He did not order you to let it go.”

    Comey: “Again, those words are not an order.”

    Risch: “He said ‘I hope’. Now, like me you probably did 100’s of cases, maybe 1,000s of cases charging people with criminal offenses. And, of course, you have knowlege of the 1,000s of cases out there where people have been charged. Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, for that matter of any other criminal offense, where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome?”

    Comey: “I don’t know well enough to answer. And the reason I keep saying ‘his words’ is I took it as a direction…”

    Risch: “You may have taken it as a direction but that is not what he said. He said, ‘I hope.’ You don’t know of anyone who has ever been charged for hoping something, is that a fair statement?”

    Comey: “I don’t as I sit here.”

    and following up they also point out

    Of course, other media outlets will dismiss the crux of the exchange above and instead focus on Comey’s statement that he “took it as a direction” even though he admits multiple times in the same exchange it, in fact, was not a direction.

    All of which brings up the larger point that if it was “a direction” and Comey didn’t notify anyone then is Comey also in legal jeopardy?

    And while you’ll also never hear this on your nightly news, here is Comey confirming that neither Trump nor anyone else in his administration ever asked him to back down on the Russia investigation:

  3. arfldgr Says:

    the blockquote was to eend at “and following up they also point out”, so that the rest was a quote from the writer at zero hedge.

    it was supposed to end with the fact of distracting you with a non legal point of being able to pardon someone in a way that the president cant pardon someone is a waste, distraction, and confuses the clarity of it. which is twisted.. (even more so given our inability to comprhend simple things given education scores for all but academic level, and even they are aweful.. you wont be able to check if your doctor had to take remedial english one they entered medical school (And not a foreigner, english their first and only language))

  4. Griffin Says:

    Comey came across as so sensitive. He’s supposedly this big time government operator but he’s so ‘concerned’ and worried about what to do. It looks so phony to me. He’s ‘shocked, I tell ya, shocked’ about all this Trump stuff.

    And that giving info to his buddy to leak to the NYT looks really, really bad to me and I got to think there is way, way more to that story of why he admitted it now. Something involving the word ‘indictment’ for his pal I bet.

  5. arfldgr Says:

    Later in the hearing, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted that one of the three things Trump asked Comey was: “Can you please tell the American people what these leaders in Congress already know — what you already know, you told me three times — that I am not personally under investigation.”

    “You know,” Rubio continued, “this investigation is full of leaks, left and right. I mean, we’ve learned more from the newspaper sometimes than we do from our open hearings, for sure.

    “You ever wonder why, of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that’s never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of Congress knew that and have known that for weeks?”

  6. arfldgr Says:

    this is how AP reported the same point.. avoiding quotes, putting phrases together that werent there, adding details that mean nothing (Granfather clock? vs chaise lounge with womans footprints in it?)

    The former director immediately dove into the heart of the fraught political controversy around his firing and whether Trump interfered in the bureau’s Russia investigation, as he elaborated on written testimony delivered Wednesday.

    In that testimony he had already disclosed that Trump demanded his “loyalty” and directly pushed him to “lift the cloud” of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign’s Russia ties.

    Comey said that he declined to do so in large part because of the “duty to correct” that would be created if that situation changed. Comey also said in his written testimony that Trump, in a strange private encounter near the grandfather clock in the Oval Office, pushed him to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

    basically they know they can do a hack job on quotes even easier than on film there is no external focus to show its being played backwards, out of order, etc..

    they know the public will not read more than they say once they read it, and will not be looking to check them once they hear what they want

    unlike aspergers and those with integrity, they do not value honesty (brutal honesty in aspergers) and integrity… they value the bonus points they can get by using something in print valid or not to play games with others and win, cause winning is everything (and to them, even if you have to cheat to do it)

  7. ConceptJunkie Says:

    There’s no hard evidence of Russian “collusion” in trying to affect the election… according to Democrats. Trump was not under investigation by the FBI. Comey says literally that Trump did not pressure him to change the investigation (despite his “interpretations” to the contrary). And yet, I see liberals expecting an impeachment to come out of this.

    I don’t get it. There’s no “there” there. Just a witchhunt.

  8. parker Says:

    From the 30 or so minutes I watched on Cspan, Comey comes across as a bit whiney and covering his posterior because has irritated his democrat pals. There is indeed no there there.

  9. Yancey Ward Says:

    All of the air went out of the Russian collusion balloon today- all of it.

    I predict the pundit fallback position will soon be that Comey has made a super secret deal with Mueller that didn’t allow him to come clean today. I am not joking, and I wish I was.

  10. Yancey Ward Says:

    While I listened to most of the testimony, I was doing other things so not paying all that close attention, but the thing about the leaked memo was interesting to me. The original stories based on the memo made it sound like the leak had come from Comey’s colleagues at the Bureau or the DoJ, who you would, of course, expect to have access to these memos after Comey had been fired. However, Comey admitted, unprompted was my impression, that he had given the memo to professor at Columbia who then read it to the reporter/s. Was this Comey’s own copies of the originals, or were these the originals that Comey had in his home? As far as I can remember, no one followed up on this, and it is important to get this answered because if they weren’t in his office at all, then the provenance is kind of suspect, and is especially suspect given the odd way Comey described how they came to be written in the first place.

  11. Yancey Ward Says:

    I have long thought Trump erred in not firing Comey on day 1, but given how Comey managed to box himself in starting in early May, perhaps firing him later makes a whole lot more sense.

  12. Bill Says:

    I think Trump detractors will continue to believe he’s a criminal and Trump supporters will continue to believe he isn’t. This had no effect on that dynamic.

    Regarding this:

    Comey left every conversation and immediately wrote down his own recollection of what had happened, in great detail, in order to both protect himself and document the exchange.

    I don’t think there’s anything unusual about this. I’m sure it happens all the time and I think I would probably so the same.

    Trump did, after all, fire Comey. And threatened him publicly, etc. Documentation is your friend.

    Not disagreeing that, by its very nature, self-documentation is not objective.

  13. Griffin Says:

    What would be a plausible reason for Comey to pretty much unprompted admit the leak through his buddy?

    The only one I can think of (other than accidentally) is he knew the DOJ was on to his buddy as the leaker so he wanted to try and take the heat off of him.

    This really illuminates the type of operator Comey is in my opinion. DC is just infested with hundreds if not thousands of these kinds of snakes in the grass.

  14. Harry the Extremist Says:

    Bill: “I think Trump detractors will continue to believe he’s a criminal and Trump supporters will continue to believe he isn’t”

    Yep, and although Im not a huge fan of Donald Trump, In trust Comey in this least and think his testimony to be self-serving, but I cant help but think if we had a president that excersized a greater sense of dignity, we could at least limited this circus to the standard three-ring type. Thois is why character matters.

  15. expat Says:

    Harry,

    It’s not just character that matters. It’s also important to know what you don’t know and gather info before you open your mouth or start tweeting. Trump goes on instincts. Often he is right in a general way, but he then screws things up. I’m really glad he took Condi’s advice about Tillerson. I don’t know how he found Mattis and others, but he has made some good choices. I just hope they can remain functional for the rest of the term.

  16. expat Says:

    Someone stopped by while I was watching, so I didn’t see the whole thing. The Dems seemed really snarky in their questioning, like they were trying to get Comey to answer for their side, not to find the truth. They don’t get that while Putin may have preferred one candidate over the other, his real aim was to portray American democracy as a nonfunctional system of government.

  17. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I agree with much of the above and I only listened briefly but did catch an exchange that leads me to conclude that Comey stabbed Trump in the back as an act of retaliation. And I predict it will have the effect of adding fuel to the fire.

    Comey stated and then reaffirmed that he believes that he was fired in order to essentially derail the investigation into Russian activities. That is utter BS. That is throwing fuel on the fire. That also has to affect Mueller’s attitude to some degree. I’m not at all convinced of Mueller’s objectivity, having only seen rhetoric to that effect.

    Comey knows that Trump fired him because he did not have confidence in Comey’s neutrality. Comey knows that his relationship with Trump was adversarial in a passive aggressive fashion.

    As McCarthy points out, were Comey neutral and objective he would have nipped any suggestion of an investigation with the question as to where was the evidence that a crime had committed? That should have ended it right there.

    Instead, he’s participated in a political witch hunt. Got fired for it and now wants payback, with a carefully crafted testimony designed to cover his ass while sticking it to Trump in a manner that allows for little rebuttal.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    I don’t have the full quote at the moment, but that quote I offered about Comey stating that he was “concerned” about Trump was in the context of Comey’s indicating that he did NOT ordinarily write memos after conversations.

  19. Bill Says:

    Neo,

    Right. He was concerned about Trump’s honesty. I’d conjecture he was also concerned about Trump’s penchant for revenge on those who cross him, and his tendency to throw those he considers “disloyal” under the bus.

    I would have the same concerns. I think anyone not blindly loyal would.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    My point is that it was NOT Comey’s usual practice,. You seemed to have been indicating it was not unusual for Comey to do this, but he is saying that it WAS unusual.

  21. Yankee Says:

    If Hillary Clinton had not, of her own volition, set up a secret e-mail server to conduct her business as Secretary of State, and then on her own, deleted thousands of e-mail messages, we would not even be talking about James Comey today.

    We are well rid of this most unworthy person, James Comey. He made a mess of the investigation into Clinton’s e-mail server, with a mix of incompetence, grandstanding, and favoritism. All of his actions are on the record, and they make for a very poor showing.

    As for other investigations: it is still a crime to leak all that secret information to the press. Who are the leakers, why are they doing this, and is it a coincidence that the only things that are leaked are pieces of information damaging to the Trump administration?

    Mr. Comey himself admitted today that he leaked that memo about his meeting with Mr. Trump and what he said about Michael Flynn. But when did he write the memo, when did he leak it, where is the memo itself, and what are its actual contents? Why did he not say immediately that he was the source of that leak when it came out in the news?

    Mr. Comey still does not get it. It is the elected officials who run the government, under the Constitution and the law, not him. He deserved to get fired, and there are probably many other such persons who should be terminated. He has not done anything to demonstrate good ethics or confidence in his ability to run the FBI.

    At the end of the day, the only name of an FBI Director that the general public should be familiar with is that of the founder J. Edgar Hoover, and no one else. It would not be surprising if James Comey personally disliked Donald Trump, and wanted to damage him politically in a passive-aggressive way. Good riddance to a showboat and a nut-job.

  22. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    The real losers today were the MsM.

  23. Bill Says:

    “You seemed to have been indicating it was not unusual for Comey to do this, but he is saying that it WAS unusual.”

    My apologies, Neo. I meant that I didn’t think the practice of taking notes is unusual – you hear all the time about government officials having kept diaries, etc.

    I don’t disagree that I was unusual for Comey. I don’t blame him for doing it for the reasons I stated, but I don’t mean that as support for him or anything. This whole episode has just been weird, as far as I’m concerned. And I suppose it’s not over yet.

  24. Bill Says:

    … that it was unusual…

    Egad…

  25. J.J. Says:

    G.B.: “Comey knows that Trump fired him because he did not have confidence in Comey’s neutrality. Comey knows that his relationship with Trump was adversarial in a passive aggressive fashion.”

    Good call. Passive aggressive is a great description of Comey’s M.O.

    Senator Feinstein asked Comey why he didn’t tell President Trump that it was improper for him to ask him to let General Flynn off. His answer was that maybe, if he was a stronger person, he would have done that. My comment: Dude, you’re the Director of the FBI, you need to man up!

    Unfortunately, most of the DC personalities, especially the bureaucrats, are passive aggressive personalities. They weasel around and do their aggressions on the low down while trying to seem to be paragons of virtue. Comey seems to me to be such a man.

  26. Frog Says:

    Comey was persona non grata to the Dems last year consequent to his Hillary statements, and has now become their beloved.
    It has been difficult for me to figure out what his game and goal(s) have been these last ten months. I am left with the impression he Peter-Principled out a long time ago, and is way above his level of competence. HE has not been running any investigations, into Russia or otherwise. His underlings do that; they are still doing that. Comey may have issued politically-driven or selfish directions, but that’s about it.

    I wonder what approval/competency rating he would get from an anonymous poll of the top ranks of the FBI careerists.

    He projects an aura of ethical looseness and relativity which are quite enough for me to distrust his every word.
    Comey most resembles the fabled scorpion being ferried across the river by a frog, only to sting and poison the frog halfway across, and thus itself drown, because the scorpion could not help but be venomous. Just has to sting something, anything. He is a poison in a suit.

  27. JC Says:

    To me Comey seems to be enjoying all of this exposure and has high confidence in his ability to handle it… enjoying it so much he’s using words in ways to keep it all going and doesn’t mind a bit of tightrope walking knowing he has great support from the people who matter to him and his future.

    Who and what matters to him is the question.. I doubt its Dem or Republican so much as a cultural set that looks down on Trump and Hills and their respective supporters.

    This set has a “higher”morality and one not uncomfortable in going against the rules to get what it thinks is needed, ie, usurping the Justice Dept’s responsibility to pronounce on Hillary’s server and leaking memos to encourage the appointment of someone as a special council to dig widely into the whole of the Russia debacle and slam those lesser beings in both parties.

    JC

  28. AesopFan Says:

    Frog Says:
    June 9th, 2017 at 1:13 am
    Comey was persona non grata to the Dems last year consequent to his Hillary statements, and has now become their beloved.
    It has been difficult for me to figure out what his game and goal(s) have been these last ten months. I am left with the impression he Peter-Principled out a long time ago, and is way above his level of competence.

    I wonder what approval/competency rating he would get from an anonymous poll of the top ranks of the FBI careerists.
    * * *
    Drilling down on your excellent points, so far as one can at second-and-third remove as an armchair pundit:
    (1) games and goals – Comey’s seem to be unusually cloaked even for Byzantium-on-the-Potomac. He seems to be alternately serving and dissing both parties, who likewise alternately praise and deride him, but instead of thus appearing to the public as a “straight arrow” (which I think he actually believes he is), he looks more like a wandering weasel.
    (2) Peter’s Principle explains much of the otherwise inexplicable actions of most high-level actors in both business and politics, and academia as well but the bar is much lower there to start with.
    (3) commentary on other blogs by either agents or friends & relatives of agents indicates at least a substantial faction subscribe to the weasel hypothesis.

    I suspect their POV is as partisan as that of everyone else in America; and that there are similarly many agents caught in the dilemma of hating Clinton’s security breaches (and thus being disgusted at Comey’s hand-washing act on the email server) but (if Dems) despising Republican/conservative policies (and so doubly disgusted at Trump’s election); or (if Republicans) aghast at having their preferred policies enacted (or shafted, depending on their hobby-horses) by The Dread Donald Trump.
    “Byzantine” doesn’t even begin to describe today’s political factionalism.

    IOTW, the poisoned frog (of either party) isn’t happy about being offered help by what he thinks is even worse than the scorpion

  29. AesopFan Says:

    Introducing a point I have only seen at one place in the last month, but especially during the free-for-all yesterday, but building on a fairly common perception that Trump is belatedly learning that working with government agencies and officials is fundamentally different from working with business opponents or subordinates. (link at the end of the comment)

    To wit, Trump has been operating in the same way he is used to, having come from being top-dog at a private company and used to (a) negotiating deals via a lot of personal and private schmoozing, and (b) hiring and firing on his own terms.
    We all know what happens with (b) – there are too many laws and regulations and customs that make HR a virtual mine-field, where nothing gets done without major lawfare and the most obviously rational decision gets you blown up because some one else’s interests differ.

    In regard to (a), remember that Trump has always bought politicians as needed to do business (his admission of such was the earliest signal that he wasn’t the usual type of presidential candidate); that the deals are always implicit and private, not blatant quid pro quos (which would move them into bribery & corruption instead of just normal campaign contributions); and that he knew he was a Washington neophyte and was looking to people he trusted for cues (my supposition, but I think there is evidence for it).

    So, Comey (very trusted by everyone even if then on the outs with Hillary’s supporters) gives him a cue, between election and inauguration, that private meetings for doing government business are OK, if there is a personal component — then stabs him in the back for having similar private meetings afterwards.

    http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/08/comey-the-first-to-call-a-private-meeting-with-trump/

  30. Susanamantha Says:

    Comey said that he didn’t release the memo to the press for a “variety of reasons”. I was waiting for someone, anyone, to ask him to explain just what those reasons were.

  31. Bill Says:

    “So, Comey (very trusted by everyone even if then on the outs with Hillary’s supporters) gives him a cue, between election and inauguration, that private meetings for doing government business are OK, if there is a personal component — then stabs him in the back for having similar private meetings afterwards.”

    I’m not a Comey fan but this idea that he “stabbed Trump in the back . . .”

    Trump pressured him (not to the level of obstruction of justice, I don’t think. But still pressure)

    Trump fired him

    Trump threatened him publicly, insinuating he had tapes, etc.

    Trump publicly insulted him

    Trump (probably) called him a “Nutjob” to the Russians

    I think most of you, if on the receiving end of Trump’s normal way of treating other human beings who are no longer of use to him, would probably not still be on the Trump Train.

    It’s like the disdain people feel for McCain for not being Trump supporter. Think what you will of McCain, but Trump mocked him for his five years of captivity as a POW. “I don’t like people who get captured”…. You expect McCain to be a Trump protagonist?

    People are human. Trump burns a lot (and I mean a LOT) of bridges.

  32. Bill Says:

    Addendum: The President is not, even yet, a king. He’s our freaking employee.

  33. Brian E Says:

    The MSM is all atwitter today about the fact that Comey called Trump a liar five times during his testimony. Gasp!

    This, of course, has been a bludgeon used against Trump during the campaign and now resurrected to establish credibility– since short of White House recordings this is going to be he said, she said testimony.

    Here are the instances he called Trump a liar:

    1. Circumstances of his dismissal.

    “So it confused me when I saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the Russia investigation, and learned again from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the Russian investigation. I was also confused by the initial explanation that was offered publicly that I was fired because of the decisions I had made during the election year.” – Comey

    So now I’m confused. How is this a lie. These aren’t mutually exclusive reasons.

    2. Comey’s leadership and reputation

    Trump defamed the FBI with lies plain and simple, Comey said, in claiming the FBI was in disarray and was poorly led.


    That was Trump’s assessment of Comey’s leadership and would only be a lie if Trump believed Comey was a great leader and the FBI wasn’t in disarray and then made that statement.

    3. The nature of Trump and Comey meetings

    Comey said he started writing memos of the meeting because he was concerned Trump might lie about the nature of the meetings.

    Comey’s just establishing his motives for writing his recollection of the meetings for credibility.

    4. The conversation about stopping the Flynn investigation

    At a press conference when asked if he had asked Comey to stop the investigation of Flynn, Trump responded “No, no”.
    Comey said he didn’t believe that was true.

    OK, so he’s just accused the President of obstruction and yet did nothing about it, other than “memorialize” his meetings.

    5. Trump calling Comey on the phone.

    In the questioning, Comey has asked if the President’s claim was true that in one instance he called Comey and another Comey called him. Comey responded, “no”.

    Much has been said about Comey the political snake, winding his way through the minefields that is Washington.

    Now Neo addressed the issues of accurately representing a conversation after it’s occurred. But we have to assume that Comey was interested in accurately representing what occurred, as opposed to creating a story that could cause the most damage to the President.

    At this point, I’d put my money on the latter. I hope Trump has recordings of the meetings.

  34. Bill Says:

    Brian E,

    Trump has a long, long, long, very public history of being transparently dishonest.

    The idea that Comey thought Trump lied, or was worried Trump would lie about their conversations, strikes me as very reasonable.

    You think Trump is honest, has an honest nature, speaks the truth consistently, etc?

  35. Brian E Says:

    Bill,
    I was just pointing out the things the MSM called lies aren’t lies.

  36. Brian E Says:

    You think Trump is honest, has an honest nature, speaks the truth consistently, etc?- Bill

    Bill, Do you have an honest nature?

  37. AesopFan Says:

    Bill Says:
    June 9th, 2017 at 11:43 am
    “So, Comey (very trusted by everyone even if then on the outs with Hillary’s supporters) gives him a cue, between election and inauguration, that private meetings for doing government business are OK, if there is a personal component — then stabs him in the back for having similar private meetings afterwards.”

    I’m not a Comey fan but this idea that he “stabbed Trump in the back . . .”
    * * *
    Sorry you misunderstood – I was giving what I thought was TRUMP’S perception of Comey’s actions: that is (a) indicating, by initiating the first meeting with the president-elect, that it was okay to have private one-on-one conversations with him (see the link); then (b) indicating later, through his memos especially, that it was inappropriate for President Trump to have one-on-one meetings with him (which he did not object to at the time, BTW).
    If I were Trump, I would see this turn-about as a back-stab.

  38. AesopFan Says:

    addendum to Bill again:
    I’ve gotten confused now about who knew what when, and (while not lauding Trump’s behavior) wonder if he went negative after something convinced him that Comey “turned” on him first, or made a pre-emptive strike?
    Is there a definitive time-line anywhere?
    Of course, if info is being churned around below the headlines, how would we know what anyone knew?

  39. AesopFan Says:

    Rats – I mis-typed another HTML closer.

  40. Bill Says:

    “Bill, Do you have an honest nature?”

    Interesting response, Brian.

    I’m a sinner saved by grace. There’s only been one man in history who never told a lie, shaded the truth, spun facts, etc.

    So, do I have an honest nature? Well, I have what scripture would refer to as a working conscience. I suspect you do as well. I do my best to be truthful in all instances. I fail sometimes. It pains me to fail. I don’t intentionally lie to people.

    I asked you the question because I’m honestly interested in your response. If you think Trump is honest, by our everyday understanding of the word, the way we might say “That Brian is a man of his word. You can trust him” , then that’s fine. I would heartily disagree with that assessment of Trump, but who knows, maybe I’m wrong. But I think people mainly felt “well, he’s more honest than Hillary”. I get that. But that doesn’t make him honest. I’m a better basketball player than my two year old granddaughter, but no one thinks I’m the missing piece of the puzzle for the Cavs.

    I think people have rightfully labeled our current era as “post-truth”. We have more information at our fingertips than ever before, and truth is still extremely elusive.

    From my observation, Trump lies frequently (although people can call it “exaggeration” if they must) and usually to aggrandize or protect himself.

  41. AesopFan Says:

    comeys-testimony-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder-like-most-things-trump

    I don’t remember seeing a link to this post, but it certainly fits with Neo’s headline.

    http://babylonbee.com/news/breaking-comey-hearing-confirms-whatever-already-wanted-believe/

    “WASHINGTON, D.C.—Explosive testimony from ex-FBI Director James Comey confirmed Thursday exactly what you already wanted to believe before you heard a word of what he had to say, news channels and websites across the nation frantically reported.”

    The articles on the site show this to be a satire home, like the Onion and People’s Cube (which are struggling to stay ahead of real events that read like parodies).

    This one made me laugh also, although it’s not much of a parody if you listened to the original.

    http://babylonbee.com/news/perfectly-ok-public-servants-christians-long-not-believe-christian-things/
    (op-ed “by Bernie Sanders”)

    “Let me stress that I am not against Christianity; I am not anti-Christian in any respect. Christianity is the majority religion in America, and I have great respect for the faith and people who engage in it responsibly.

    The problem with Mr. Vought is that he practices his Christian faith in an irresponsible manner by believing and espousing that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and those who reject the Savior “stand condemned.” This orthodox line of thinking is outrageous. I think we can all agree that it is perfectly OK for public servants to be Christians, as long as they do not believe Christian things.”

  42. Bill Says:

    The Babylon Bee is fantastic! The satire there helps keep me sane 🙂

  43. Big Maq Says:

    At the end of the day it is a friggin mess.

    But, it all looks like politics as usual. Each side takes their most favorable view and ignores the rest.

    Had trump not been such a liar during his campaign (we often used the term “mutable”) and not had a history of such, just maybe we’d never be here.

    This, summed up as character, which feeds into credibility and trustworthiness, is the source of much of trump’s woes.
    .

    Comey doesn’t come out “clean” in all this. Heck, he had/has BOTH dems and GOP calling for his head.

    We can disagree with his judgement – there’s plenty to base concerns on.

    Notably, one of those questionable decisions was to make his clinton email announcement the week or so before election day. Had he not done that, we’d probably be living with clinton as president.
    .

    As far as keeping notes, even the Art of the Deal documents that trump’s lawyers routinely showed up in pairs and took notes.

    There is more than reasonable precedence to take notes with trump.

    In fact, it might be rather foolish of ANYONE working with trump NOT to take notes.
    .

    Leaking – not good, and rather legally risky for Comey to have done, let alone the ethics of it.

    Criminal? Not sure that it is, or, at minimum, it is probably hard to legally prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. Something for those more fully endowed legal minds to debate.

    But, trump’s tweeting didn’t help whatsoever in de-escalating the situation – anyone in Comey’s shoes ought to have walked away from the firing and the twitter aftermath feeling the cross hairs at their back.

    Breach of employment contract? Perhaps a decent case. But if Comey fights it in court, does anyone think anything but a slap on the wrist is going to happen, given the circumstances?
    .

    The trump side is looking to kill Comey’s character, as if that would somehow exonerate trump’s behavior, or further, exonerate any of his staff who may be caught up in the russian investigation.

    No, trump nor anyone else in his camp come off “clean” either.
    .

    In the meantime, serious business is being impeded, with yet another distraction generated by this POTUS, who just cannot help providing the dems and the msm the fodder they seek to hang him with.

    Still waiting for that awesome “competence” he harped on during his campaign.

    We’ll see.

    But, if he does show some, no doubt there will be grand celebrations all around, given the low expectations bar … until the next disappointment.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    If “the Trump side” is looking “to kill Comey’s character,” I must say that it’s getting a great deal of cooperation from Comey in that endeavor.

  45. Brian E Says:

    Trump has a long, long, long, very public history of being transparently dishonest. – Bill

    Bill, do you ever wonder why a person would be “transparently dishonest”? That seems to defeat the reason for being dishonest.

    What bothers me about the criticism of Trump’s truthfulness is that it often focuses on his past, sometimes distant past.

    But what if he’s changed? It seems in politics we use a person’s past to condemn their future. And this is nothing new, beginning with Trump.

    I really never paid any attention to Trump– other than watching a few episodes of Apprentice, but I assumed that was somewhat of a character built for the show.

    People that know him say he’s different in private.

    As to his whether he’s mostly honest, I guess I would say my impression is that he’s not more dishonest than most of the politicians in Washington. And probably more honest– especially if his dishonesty is transparent. At least it’s easy to tell when he’s lying, unlike too many politicians.

    So far I think he’s tried to honestly implement his campaign promises.

  46. Big Maq Says:

    @Neo – Right – Comey doesn’t come out of this clean whatsoever.
    .

    The point is that the way it is being played by most of the trump surrogates (and other excusers in his fan club) is not much different from how the dems argue about Comey’s announcements last year wrt the FBI’s email investigations. …

    The focus is almost exclusively on Comey’s “poor decision making”, motivation, he’s a “liar”, etc. – i.e. all about Comey’s character. Yet, few of them go back to the substance of why we are here in the first place.

    If we accept their view, at what point does trump ever have any culpability?
    .

    What a friggin mess.

    It was SO avoidable, and with little effort really.
    .

    The “mess” goes well beyond this specific case and spills over into every questionable thing folks feel they have to defend him on.

    It is simply destructive.

  47. Big Maq Says:

    “But what if he’s changed?” – Brian

    Really? You make it seem that the “transparency” is intentional? Part of some 3D Quantum Chess play?

    And, cripes, it is NOT all in the “distant past” folks are talking about. However, not going to litigate all the things trump has said since announcing his campaign that are questionable, at best.

    The dems / left may be deranged in their attacks, but that doesn’t call for us to be equally deranged in our support of trump.

  48. Big Maq Says:

    Thought Experiment:

    If it was clinton instead of trump in these exact circumstances, would our focus be all on Comey?

    Would we think there was something wrong with clinton’s own behavior in all this?

    That she has some culpability in the mess before us?

    Be Honest.

  49. AesopFan Says:

    AesopFan Says:
    June 9th, 2017 at 1:11 pm
    …..If I were Trump, I would see this turn-about as a back-stab.
    * * *
    In re perceptions of back-stabbing, via a slightly different route, see Andy McCarthy –

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448513/trump-james-comey-fbi-director-russia-investigation-fired-misleading-public

    “The fact that President Trump was not under investigation did not get out until Trump finally put it out himself. That was in the May 9 letter that informed FBI director Comey that he was removed from office: “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”

    Do you suppose the desperation to tell that to the world, the exasperation over Comey’s refusal to tell it to the world, just might have been at the front of the president’s mind?”

  50. AesopFan Says:

    Brian E Says:
    June 10th, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    People that know him say he’s different in private.

    As to his whether he’s mostly honest, I guess I would say my impression is that he’s not more dishonest than most of the politicians in Washington. And probably more honest– especially if his dishonesty is transparent. At least it’s easy to tell when he’s lying, unlike too many politicians.

    So far I think he’s tried to honestly implement his campaign promises.
    * * *
    The thing is, Trump’s “dishonesty” of whatever type or vintage was “baked into” the election.
    Comey’s basic dishonesty is becoming ever more apparent to the public.
    * * *
    neo-neocon Says:
    June 10th, 2017 at 12:41 pm
    Big Maq:

    If “the Trump side” is looking “to kill Comey’s character,” I must say that it’s getting a great deal of cooperation from Comey in that endeavor.

  51. Brian E Says:

    “If it was clinton instead of trump in these exact circumstances, would our focus be all on Comey?” – Big Maq

    If it was Clinton we wouldn’t be here.

    Because Lynch and Comey had already covered up for Clinton. This fix had already been applied.

    Remember when Lynch, after meeting with Clinton, famously said that she would abide by any recommendation by the FBI about prosecuting Clinton? Didn’t you think that was an odd thing for Lynch to say at the time?

    But it all made sense when Comey famously said, ‘she broke the law, but no rational prosecutor would charge her’.

    Now that was transparent.

    What you’re failing to apply to this equation is the MSM will cover for leftists– and we’re not talking about whether they’ve acted outside the bounds of Washington political etiquette, but, oh, actual crimes.

    So please, spare me your false equivalences.

    Reading your comments made it pretty obvious to me that Trump did nothing to bring us here.

    Comey on three occasions told Trump he wasn’t under investigation, but refused to remove the cloud of media driven obsession with Trump’s supposed collusion.

    Comey, as a response to his firing, plotted revenge. As a result we have a special prosecutor when none was necessary, and the book of ‘Trump and the Russians’ is now the sequel ‘Trump and the Obstruction’, even though there was no obstruction, which is obvious to anyone but partisan hacks.

  52. Brian E Says:

    I don’t mean to imply you’re a partisan hack, Big Maq.

  53. Bill Says:

    Brian E, you missed Big Maq’s point.

    And Trump has made plenty of either dumb or naive moves that a more seasoned and less impulsive leader would not have made.

    Finally: OF COURSE if the shoe were on the other foot many Trump partisans would be praising Comey and calling for Hillary’s head

    I was a Republican for 30 years and I’m still a conservative, but when it comes to partisanship, unfair weights and measures, neither side has a monopoly.

    If you don’t believe me, consider “Moochelle” and compare to Trump and Melania’s expenses. Just for one single examples. Or Trump’s golfing versus Obamas. Or literally 1,000 other things that are unacceptable when they do it but perfectly OK when it’s our guy.

    We are awash in partisan hacks.

  54. Big Maq Says:

    “If it was Clinton we wouldn’t be here.” – Brian

    Nice sidestep of the theoretical. I did request “Be Honest”.

    Bottom line is I HIGHLY doubt people would take the same view of Comey and the POTUS if things were reversed.

    Again, that is if folks are Being Honest.
    .

    Wrt your point about the MSM, we could substitute much of the “conservative” media. No false equivalency there.
    .

    I very much don’t agree with how Comey handled himself, but I can understand how he comes this point. He might have been better off resigning to begin with, rather than hanging on and be fired with a very public gratuitous professional embarrassment, and be left few good options to counter it.

    If he broke the law (a fair question) he ought to face the consequences of that.
    .

    What I don’t see in this focus on Comey is a consistency in concern. Something just doesn’t jive in the face of what we see in trump in all this.

    And, that is aside from the competency issue in how trump manages to, time and again, unnecessarily stir the pot and make issues, that shouldn’t be, contentious.
    .

    “Comey on three occasions told Trump he wasn’t under investigation, but refused to remove the cloud of media driven obsession with Trump’s supposed collusion.”

    Would have been nice, if Comey truly thought trump was absolutely clean.

    We can speculate why he didn’t, but he was not the only one in the chain of oversight who could say so.

    And the DOJ couldn’t comment on it? The people who direct Comey?

    And, the GOP Congressional committee members who heard Comey’s reports – they all couldn’t say anything?
    .

    trump should have fired him day 1. Perhaps he felt he owed something to Comey for his timely announcement on clinton just prior to voting day?

    Ultimately, he dragged his feet on it, and became frustrated that Comey wouldn’t follow all that trump desired he do on the russian investigation, and publicly exonerating trump.

    So, he fires Comey for essentially that reason, and admits so!

    There is nothing amiss there?
    .

    “I don’t mean to imply you’re a partisan hack”

    Look, I’m not going to defend Comey’s questionable decisions / actions, but I’m also not going to hear all this about how bad Comey is, yet crickets on trump and how he helped bring it all to this point.

    Classic blue vs red team is to deflect and blame others.

    Credibility and Trust.

    We want that from Comey and others, and get upset when they don’t live up to those standards?

  55. Big Maq Says:

    Ok, saw Bill’s comment after posting mine.

    Sometimes it takes a while writing between breaks for something else needing attention.
    .

    “We are awash in partisan hacks.”

    How true.

    Goes hand in hand with selecting our own realities nowadays.

  56. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq, when National Review defends Trump, I’m willing to bet that the fault lies with Comey as to where we are now.

    I was being honest. I think your dishonest meter needs to be re-calibrated. It’s giving false positives.

    Comey, for whatever reason was undermining the President long before this issue came to a head. Maybe it’s part of his weak character– he couldn’t resist going along with other partisan hacks in the FBI or DOJ. To bad he didn’t have a stronger character.

    And your speculation insinuating Comey wouldn’t do Trump’s bidding regarding the Russian investigation is wrong on the motives. Read McCarthy.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448513/trump-james-comey-fbi-director-russia-investigation-fired-misleading-public

    McCarthy is critical of the way Comey was fired, but, other than the tweet-a-rama Trump launched, the firing wasn’t that unusual, IMO.

    As a rule, when my company fires someone with cause, HR and a security guard will show up at the person’s desk, allow them to gather personal items and then escort them off the premises. It seems heartless, but there is a valid reason for doing it that way.

    Comey should have been fired on the first day, but apparently Trump is a softy.

  57. Bill Says:

    Brian E

    I know this thread is about to scroll off the page. But your company fires people in the right way.

    Trump fired Comey long distance, and not in the same way someone fired “for cause” would be.

    And I’ll bet your CEO doesn’t publicly tweet threats to the fired employee.

    Trump had the right to do it. It was done in a particularly Trump way. It was not done the way most HR departments would feel comfortable letting it be done (he found out from the TV?). But I don’t begrudge Trump for doing whatever he wants. But he’s reaping some of the blowback of the way he did this, he made an enemy in Comey, and he kind of deserves what he’s dealing with now.

    I don’t for a second think he’ll be impeached or anything like that. But he needs to act more wisely, for the sake of his agenda

  58. Big Maq Says:

    “Comey, for whatever reason was undermining the President long before this issue came to a head.” – Brian

    That is the explanation coming from the trump supporters, but it is pure speculation.

    It may well be that he had concerns that trump was potentially not himself entirely clean, given what Comey must have known from the investigation, plus trump’s own behavior and statements.

    Maybe we should also think that Comey had it out for clinton too?

    Who knows for sure? That’s all speculation.

    If we want to guess at Comey’s motives, perhaps we can also visit trump’s motives?
    .

    Bottom line is trump could have fired Comey early on. He didn’t – though the issues his staff gave existed on day one.

    He could have claimed some real issues of substance in the firing. He didn’t – he admits it was personal, and fully about the russian investigation.

    He could have met with Comey and let him know, perhaps offering him the option to resign. He didn’t – This was nothing like a security guard at the desk scenario. In fact, trump went much further and publicly disgraced the man and quasi-threatened him. Real “softy”, that.

    So now, the explanation is that since Comey didn’t publicly pronounce trump innocent (well before the investigation is done), Comey must have had it out for trump all along?

    Rich, indeed! Most plausible only to those most interested in ignoring much of the rest, and looking to find enemies under every rock.
    .

    “I was being honest.”

    No. You side stepped the question.
    .

    In the end, this whole issue of Comey vs trump comes down to credibility and trust, as it is largely a he said, he said.

    Neither man comes out clean in all this, but if Comey was gunning for trump and is lying about all this, he sure did a poor job – he could have done so much more damage.

    Probably more reasonable to see that Comey used poor judgement trying to navigate the gale winds in these political waters, and reacted poorly after the awful firing, rather than believe it all some grand conspiracy, unless there is more evidence.

    Kind of like how we don’t (and want others to not) assume trump has been collaborating with the russians, even if he has had largely positive things to say about putin, and had requested russia hack and release the clinton emails.

    But, how trump handled this and his reasoning behind it leaves more questions open about his hand in this investigation.
    .

    Couldn’t have been handled in a much worse way.

    Like it was designed to create a reaction, a distraction.

    So the question becomes: Why?

    Is it a competence issue, or something else?

  59. Brian E Says:

    “President Trump has three rules for operating in the world of government and politics. Time learned of them from a White House official and describes them this way: “When you’re right, you fight. Controversy elevates message. And never apologize.””

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/rules-of-disorder/article/2008431

    Only marginally on topic, but an interesting piece by Fred Barnes, who I’ve always liked.

  60. Brian E Says:

    “Several current and former officials said the relationship between the White House and the FBI had been strained for months, in part because administration officials were pressuring Comey to more aggressively pursue leak investigations over disclosures that embarrassed the White House and raised questions about ties with Russia.”

    “That pressure was described as conversational challenges to FBI leadership to pursue the source of leaks seen as damaging to the administration, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Although the FBI is investigating disclosures of classified information, the bureau has resisted calls to prioritize leak investigations over the Russia matter, or probe matters that did not involve leaks of classified or otherwise sensitive information, the officials said.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-10/real-reason-trump-fired-james-comey-according-politico

    Given the source (Politico) I’m sure the histrionics have been exaggerated or manufactured, but I had read elsewhere that Trump had asked Comey to pursue elements of the Russia story (the ‘dossier’) and Comey wasn’t responsive.

    So the motives for firing Comey are myriad, and not mutually exclusive. If I had an employee that was asked multiple times to perform a task and was ignored, I would probably do the same thing.

    As to the manner of Comey’s firing, given Trump’s frustration, it’s not all that unusual. These are supposedly mature, high level executives that can handle adverse circumstances. As has been reported several times, the manner of his firing insured that Comey couldn’t access his computer and manipulate the record.

    The fact that Comey went running from the building like a sixth grader that got his first wedgie, looking for someone to tattle certainly doesn’t create any sympathy.

  61. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – there were all kinds of good reasons.

    But, did trump claim those? Nope.

    Is it unusual to fire someone on the road? Nope.

    Is it unusual to tweet about it, threaten and otherwise publicly demean a fired person? Yep.

    Was it necessary? Nope.

    Does it help move the ball forward, and build support for the changes we want? Nope.

    Does it add to the cloud of suspicion over trump wrt the russian interference in the last election? Yep.
    .

    “When you’re right, you fight”

    Seems a rather weird argument here.

    You value “fighting” when you think you are “right”. Okay.

    Perhaps Comey thinks he is “right”, yet you portray it as childishly “running from the building like a sixth grader that got his first wedgie”. (that you analogize what trump did to a “wedgie” says a lot, btw)

    Couldn’t it simply be how Comey “fights” too?

    What would you have done if it was you who was fired as dramatically and threatening as that, and you thought it all wrong?
    .

    Seriously!

    Comey was likely personally offended in all this, not unlike how trump seems to get for something far less.

    Just one example, if trump hadn’t threatened (e.g. about the “tapes”), maybe nothing would have come of it.

    But, IIRC, Comey said that was his prime motivation for the “leak” of part of his notes.

    Seems like he is fighting back in a way that he thinks is most effective.

    Seems like tweeting these types of things that trump did WAS THE childish reaction / elementary school antics.
    .

    Not defending or saying everything Comey did was ethically or legally right, but that reaches back to his judgement under extraordinary pressure – the original reason he could have been fired on day one.

    But, it does seem weird we value these things in trump, but find them abhorrent and worthy of condemnation / ridicule in Comey.
    .

    Neither player is clean in all this.

    trump also has some significant culpability in the mess we see before us.

    It is time folks acknowledge that, rather than excuse it, and merely blame Comey.

    trump needs to change and if folks keep cheering him on for crap like this, he won’t … and we won’t get to see the changes we hope he is going to make.

    His supporters, he supposedly listens to, need to tell him to keep focus and build broader support and that antics like this just fumbles the ball.

  62. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq,
    I should have made it clear I wasn’t endorsing Trump’s “rules”, just thought it was an interesting story.

    As to Comey’s reaction to the firing, he had already set in place the narrative to trap the President. If you read the transcript of Comey’s testimony, it’s ready to go straight to a screenplay– no need for the book first.

    Let’s put it this way, Comey’s emotional re-telling of his brief nine meeting encounters with the President was– well full of emotionally charged words. If Comey didn’t have a script writer, if he created it on his own, he is missing his calling all along.

    I had no problem with his long distance firing. Look, Trump was trying to get ahead of the media onslaught of Trump and the Russians. He wanted Comey to speed up the investigation, rather than drop it, especially as it related to leaks by the Deep State. Comey was stonewalling the President.

    Was Comey a good FBI director? I don’t know, but what’s happened since his firing indicates he does know how the Washington game is played.

    I wonder if Trump is still learning the level of skullduggery that is just a ‘day at the office’ for the Washington insiders, where the careful crafting of narrative is supreme. Trump’s tweets are the sledgehammer to the rapier of the narrative.

    Palace intrigue might be an apt phrase.

    Given the forces arrayed against his success, there is nothing to be gained by my criticism of the President– I wish Gingrich had been chosen Chief of Staff. Bannon, Kushner and even Priebus don’t seem up to the task of helping Trump navigate the swamp.
    So yes Trump does need to refine his technique. It’s gotten him where he is, for better or for worse. I agree that he needs more finesse to minimize the ‘worse’.

  63. Big Maq Says:

    “As to Comey’s reaction to the firing, he had already set in place the narrative to trap the President.” – Brian

    That’s the explanation from the talking heads, and their “deep state” conspiracies.

    Just like an AG can indict a ham sandwich at a Grand Jury, thing is, we can always speculate about some kind of conspiracy argument for anyone that does something we don’t like.

    It couldn’t simply be that, regardless of the quality of his judgements, Comey was in a hard spot if he legitimately thought there MIGHT be something to trump’s campaign team’s involvement with the russians?
    .

    Pressuring a team to “speed up” an investigation doesn’t work. Information is not just something to be picked off trees.

    trump’s pressuring Comey on anything to do with this particular investigation and attempting to direct its priorities gets well into grey ethical territory, given it’s obvious conflict of interest.

    Didn’t we make a big deal about AG Lynch meeting with bill clinton, while investigation of hillary c’s email scandal was ongoing?
    .

    trump needs more than “finesse”, but far more prudent judgement and discipline.

    Isn’t trump the one who is perpetuating this “palace intrigue”? That’s part of his problem I’m talking about.

    Whatever got him elected (with a bit of luck in the news cycle, courtesy of Comey, against a poor candidate, with near historically low % turnout) is not the same thing needed to be the POTUS.
    .

    Now we hear the idea floated around that trump may fire the special prosecutor?

    And we thought obamacare was a great issue to win elections on?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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