June 8, 2017 (WASHINGTON) Former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Over the course of two and a half hours, there were some revelations that are important. The questions asked were critical. However, some of the Republican senators, such as John McCain (R-AZ) tried to make this about the Hillary Clinton server.
Comey first said that the reasons that were given by the White House were not only lies but a defamation of his character. He was in good terms with the agency, and it was an honor for him to serve. He also told the agency that he was sorry he could not say good bye in a proper way. Most of his opening statement was submitted for the record yesterday, and that detailed events. the former director laid the case for obstruction of justice.
Comey stated that “it’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.” He also added “lordy, I hope there are tapes,”, after President Trump said in tweet that Comey best hope there were no tapes. This is one reason that Columbia Law Professor Dan Richman leaked the contents of one of the memos to the New York Times. Richman is a friend of Comey’s, and it was imperative for the former director to get this information into the public square.
These memos are now with the Office of the Special Prosecutor led by Robert Mueller. The reason for the leak was in the hopes that a special prosecutor would be appointed. He did not do it himself, given how the Washington Press works.
As to why he maintained these memos, it was the nature of the person and the fact that the president met with him several times, alone. This was not done during the Barack Obama administration.
Comey also said that the first time he met the then president-elect alone, was to talk to him about the contents of the Steele Dossier, which was going to be published soon. It was run by Buzzfeed a few days later.
Some of these allegations have been independently confirmed by CNN and also by the FBI.
Later on, he met the president alone for dinner, which he had to cancel a date with his wife. During this meeting, the president allegedly demanded both loyalty from the now former director and asked about the Mike Flynn investigation. He asked the director to let it go since Flynn was a good person. This dinner and the commentary from Comey is where a case for obstruction of justice could come from. The director did not take that comment as nothing less than direction from the president to drop the whole matter.
He also revealed that at the time there were no investigations into Trump, when asked by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl)
Then there is the matter of Russia and their interference in American elections. Comey has no doubt that it happened. Nor that it will occur again. This is not a partisan issue. He stated, “the Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. They did it with purpose, they did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts and it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government.”
He also added, “it is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community and the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It is not a close call.”
The hearing was not about litigating the election. However, it raised important matters for the American people.
For completeness sake, adding the statement of President Trump’s private lawyer, Marc Kasowitz.