There’s been quite a lot of high-fiving and celebrating because Jim Comey’s prepared opening statement confirms Comey told President Trump he wasn’t personally under investigation.
I thought the celebrating was odd because Comey never said Trump was under investigation. Critics say it’s a media and Democratic Party narrative, but the reality is, Trump didn’t need Jim Comey to make a public statement on Trump’s behalf. He’s not a spokesperson for Trump. So the criticism that Comey didn’t go to bat for the president publicly to reassure people he wasn’t under investigation is silly.
That said, despite the fact there is nothing in the statement that leads to articles of impeachment, there are a couple of issues that will cause Trump political problems.
Here is what Comey said about the subject of Mike Flynn:
The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Trump’s problem? He denied this happened:
President Trump on Thursday denied ever asking FBI Director James B. Comey to back off his agency’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as into the role played by former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Asked whether he urged Comey to ease up on the Flynn investigation, Trump said at a news conference, “No, no,” before ordering the media to move on to the “next question.”
Then there was the question of loyalty. Comey said:
A few moments later, the President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.
Trump denied that as well:
Donald Trump is denying recent reports that he asked for former FBI Director James Comey’s loyalty a few days after he was sworn in as president.
Sources told ABC News that Trump posed the question to Comey more than once during a dinner in January and Comey would not promise such a thing to the new president, only that he would be honest.
“I didn’t ask that question,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro that aired Saturday night.
Trump, however, said it “wouldn’t be a bad question to ask.”
So when it comes to the matter of who is more credible, it seems James Comey comes out on top here. I think Comey knows the game well enough to play the political angles he can, but Trump denied reports that turned out to be true. One cannot accept at face value, Comey’s confirmation of telling Trump he was not under investigation and at the same time say Comey’s lying about his conversations about loyalty and Mike Flynn.
As I wrote earlier, Trump is clueless as to how things get done in Washington, D.C. His attempts to get Comey to back off the Flynn investigation and then lying about it, as well as lying about saying he wanted Comey’s loyalty, go to Trump’s credibility, and this is not going to help him at all.