Monday, April 16, 2018

SOOO, What About Comey

Image result for comey images

Maybe he seems a little pious, slightly pompous and seemingly naïve over the Hillary Clinton emails and the role he played in determining the outcome of the election.  He's not afraid to make personal comments about Donald Trump - orange face, white half-moon eyes and (not unusually small) hands.
 But is he a liar???  About the, now famous, dossier, he said,
"I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don't know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,"  in an interview with ABC News.
Well if you don't know, then don't say it. Mr Trump has enough sins on his soul without you, slyly, intimating he has others.
So why is Comey doing that in a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" way in his interview with George Stephanopoulos? It makes him look like a bitter man. There were a couple of other asides about the Trump's marriage that seemed rather unworthy of a man of Comey's stature
Comey has no need to act this way.  Remaining quiet and depending on his reputation and many years of service to his country to speak for him  would have served him much better.
One thing most people seem to agree on, however, is that  James Comey is not a liar, especially on the stuff that really matters, that is the key.
If it ever comes to an impeachment process against President Trump (something, interestingly, Comey says he hopes doesn't happen - his argument was that it was the American people who elected him; it should therefore be the American people who boot him from office), then his testimony could prove vital.
In the interview, he asserts there is "certainly some evidence" that Donald Trump obstructed justice in asking the former FBI chief to see a way of dropping the case against Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor (Flynn has since pleaded guilty to one charge of lying to the FBI).
Comey thought it so unusual that he was having one-on-one meetings with the president, without the attorney general or chief of staff present, that he took notes of the meetings, committed to paper and dated - either in the form of an aide-mémoire to himself, or in a memorandum to colleagues. Why this matters is that in a court case, an FBI officer's contemporaneous note is admissible as evidence. Just like a recording of the conversation.
Are we to believe that the serving head of the FBI deliberately fabricated these notes because he knew sooner rather than later he was going to be fired, and these could then be used to help bring an obstruction of justice case against the sitting president? Very, very unlikely.
Comey is an ambitious, proud and status-conscious kind of guy. He wanted to keep his job - but self immolation was never part of his plan. In the interview he talks about flying back from the West Coast immediately after he'd been unceremoniously fired. You could see the memory of that still caused him pain.
But proving he is a liar is a key element to Republican strategy at the moment. That is the way you draw his sting. The argument from the White House is that Comey is "known to be a leaker and a liar" - a phrase used by the president; a phrase used by his press secretary, Sarah Sanders. A campaign is underway to discredit him as much as possible to discount his book as trash and make him seem unreliable if and when he is called as a witness.

The evidence, as they see it, is his changing explanation for re-opening the Hillary Clinton email investigation. And giving testimony initially to Congress that the president had not sought to interfere over the treatment of Flynn. They also accuse Comey of leaking classified emails.
The president tweeted that he will go down in history as the worst ever director of the FBI. Well, let's see. He will certainly go down as one of the most controversial - excepting J Edgar Hoover.
His behaviour over the Hillary Clinton emails is highly questionable- for both Republicans and Democrats alike - although for different reasons. And they show the worst of Comey. He announces she's not going to be prosecuted for her use of a private email server when she was Secretary of State, but then added a stern rebuke for her behaviour, saying she'd been extremely careless. FBI directors normally don't say anything. That was grandstanding.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders speaks to the media from the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington DC, USA, 13 April 2018. Earlier 
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has impugned Comey from the podium

Then two weeks before polling day - two weeks! - he announced he was reopening the investigation because of the discovery of a new hoard of emails. It totally transformed the closing stages of the campaign, and led to a massive reverse in the polls. But he made that announcement before looking at what those emails were.
And then just days before polling, he exonerated candidate Clinton. So what the hell was that all about? Maybe his reasoning was flawed. But most don't doubt his sincerity when he says he felt he had no other course of action open to him. He told Congress a few months back that it left him feeling mildly nauseous to think that he could have affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. On the contrary, it must have weighed heavily on his mind back then, and now, even more.
 Ultimately, it may come down to a question of who do you believe: the president or his former FBI director?
One has a lousy track record of, how can one put this, making assertions that don't bear close scrutiny.  For example: the false claims that Obama wasn't born in the US, therefore was illegitimate as president, that Muslims in New Jersey cheered when the twin towers came down in 2001, that the crowds for his inauguration were bigger than Obama's, that three million people voted illegally and that his was the biggest electoral college victory since Reagan - I could go on. His former communications director, Hope Hicks told a congressional hearing that one of her jobs was to tell "white lies" for the president.
The other was previously known as a pretty honest fellow. The president has called Comey a slimeball. . But to neutralize him completely, Donald Trump has to undermine his credibility, and prove he's a liar. That hasn't happened yet, so for the moment the 6ft 8in former FBI director can still walk tall.
And that makes him dangerous to the administration.

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