Like nearly 9 million other viewers, I saw James Comey’s public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday morning. It was what I expected it would be, following Comey’s pre-released opening statements, but also included some surprises, like the fact that Comey asked a friend to release contents of memo Comey wrote detailing an interaction with Donald Trump with the hope that it would initiate a special counsel. That, I thought, was very smart and really showed Comey’s savvy.
I disagreed with Comey’s fight with Apple last year regarding the San Bernardino iPhone thing, and I thought Comey’s actions regarding the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the 2016 election year was puzzling, but I never doubted Comey’s integrity. Nor did I doubt Comey’s political neutrality, regarding either Clinton or Trump. All in all, I think he’s a good guy who is often placed in extremely difficult positions. I think many probably think this way of Comey.
Amazingly, Trump was silent on Twitter yesterday. I don’t know how he or his aides managed that, but he was true to form today, saying stupid stuff live and on Twitter. Following Comey’s testimony, Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz (who, by the way, has clients with Kremlin ties, just sayin’), made the statement that Trump feels “totally vindicated” simply because Comey made the statement that Trump was not under investigation at that time (I’m betting he is now, though), but then basically called Comey a liar on the other stuff. Trump basically said the same today during a during a press conference today with Romania’s President Klaus Werner Iohannis.
In fact, when asked if he would be willing to give his version of events under oath, Mr Trump replied, “100 per cent.” This is interesting because he basically called Comey a liar (in matters that were derogatory to Trump); that is, he accused Comey of breaking the law, lying under oath. He said, “I didn’t say that,” regarding Comey’s statement that Trump asked for personal loyalty. So who is the liar, Comey or Trump? Who are you going to believe? In matters of integrity there is no contest. On the one hand, we have a well-respected former AG and former FBI Director. On the other we have…Trump. Check out his Four-Pinocchio ratings, in one place. Trump wasn’t under oath during the press conference; he can say whatever he wants. No one has any reason to believe him. Trump volunteering to speak under oath is just silly. He will sooner or later, like it or not. And chances are, if history is any indication, he won’t be very good at it.
Of course, a lot of this “he said/he said” could be resolved if “tapes” between Trump and Comey actually do exist. If you recall, Trump (in)famously Tweet-threatened Comey with the existence of “tapes.” Comey said in his testimony, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” Kind of makes Comey far more believable than Trump, if you ask me. The White House hasn’t been answering questions on whether or not tapes exist, and when asked about the existence of recordings at the press conference Trump said that he would reveal if there are any tapes “over a fairly short period of time,” and added, “Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry.” Huh. So we’ll find out soon, like when Trump promised a revelation regarding Russian hacking and it never came? Or when he said he’d release his tax returns after his audit is complete, but then says “maybe” he’ll release them after he leaves office? Like that?
Anyway, how long does it take to simply answer the question, “Do recordings exist?” Does the White House not know? Of course they know. They either do or do not exist, and I’d bet, considering Trump’s practices in the past, that they do exist, and their reluctance to produce them is because they place Trump at a disadvantage. Maybe they’re just trying to decide whose fireplace to burn them in.
This is happening, folks. The Trump administration is past the point of no return. I don’t have a clue how it will all turn out, but I don’t think it’s going to be pretty for Trump. Whether or not the GOP has the balls to impeach one of their own is another matter to consider, but if they continue to support this train wreck then it makes them look pretty sad as well. Of course, as Philip Bump at the Washington Post points out, Trump may be telling the truth. I mean, it’s possible, right? But how likely is that? Trump lies. It’s what he does. But he won’t be able to hide behind them for long.