How to Listen to James Comey’s Testimony Today
UPDATE 2.0. As I noted in the previous update this morning, below, this post was actually about the March hearings when Comey first revealed Trump’s campaign was under investigation over possible coordination with Russia.
Here is a new post today’s hearings all about the Comey Memos. As some have noted Comey’s Memos read like the political version of 50 Shades of Grey.
Comey hearings didn’t disappoint. Many bombshells but 2 big ones: Comey incriminates both Jeff Sessions & Mike Pence
UPDATE: Hello all you wonderful readers. I feel bad as I see this post of mine is suddenly exploding. Of course, this is from March just prior to Comey’s initial hearing where he would for the first time divulge that, yes they are investigating Russia’s interference including whether anyone in the Trump campaign coordinated with this Russian interference.
So those of you reading this are getting the pre analysis of that testimony. Regarding today, I just wrote this that is germane for the Comey Memos.
“Comey Memos read as political 50 Shades of Grey. Amazing levels of evocativeness from Comey, truly the great witness .”
There has never been a scandal like Watergate 2.0-not even the first one as I argue in this above link.
If you want a further primer today, here are some other good links from other publications.
Ok. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m about to start watching Comey, truly the great witness.
Check back later with me-I will have all the Comey analysis your little hearts desire.
So I like must of Democratic nation am at the edge of my seat going into today’s Comey testimony in the first public House hearings into Watergate 2.0. What will Comey say? Will he say much? Will he admit there really is a Russia investigation.
Rick Wilson has a prediction:
I have no idea what Comey will say in a few hours.
I do know the man who was once a Hero of Trumpistan wont be after tomorrow.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) March 20, 2017
“No matter what he says, the controversy-prone FBI director is guaranteed to anger one side or the other.”
“If he goes mum, he would open himself to charges of hypocrisy from congressional Democrats, after Comey’s pre-election announcement that the FBI had discovered new Clinton-related emails and was reviewing them. The emails ultimately did not change the FBI’s recommendation not to pursue criminal charges.”
No, but they did sink her election. Does Comey in any way see a problem in putting his hand on the scales, taking the election from her as it turned out there was nothing new in the emails anyway?
But I digress.
But if Comey rebuts Trump’s bugging claim, he could incur the wrath of a notoriously thin-skinned president.
“If he publicly refutes it, I think that it sends a message to the president that he can’t make baseless accusations without being called on it,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat. “I think he can be the exclamation point at the end of this.”
“On the other hand, Benjamin Wittes, argues Democrats really should look at this the opposite way. While, of course, we naturally hope he indeed ‘won’t be a hero in Trumpistan’ after tomorrow as Rick Wilson says, Wittes argues that’s the wrong way to look at it.”
“He argues that the more Comey talks-and superficially gives us what we want-the more likely it is that the Russia probe is either near conclusion or has nothing much to it.”
“let me offer readers the following user’s guide to Comey’s testimony, which can be summed up in one simple sentence: Comey’s communicativeness with the committee—and through it with the public—will almost certainly be inversely proportional to the seriousness of the Russia investigation.”
“That is, if Comey says a lot, makes a lot of news on Russia matters, and cheers a lot of anti-Trump hearts by maximally embarassing the President for his outrageous comments on Obama’s alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower, that will very likely be a sign that Comey has relatively little to protect in terms of investigative equities in the Russia matter and is thus free to vent. Conversely, a quiet, reserved Comey—one whose contrast with the relatively loquatious FBI director who talked at length about the Clinton email matters will infuriate a lot of liberals and frustrate those who want to know what’s going on with Russia—may well spell trouble for the President.”
In other words, Comey was so loquacious about the emails because there was nothing there. Great so because there was nothing there, Comey saw fit to disregard the rules and precedents of his agency and the DOJ and the warning of his own Attorney General and put his hand on the scales for Trump.
Another digression: Loretta Lynch should have just ordered him not to do it. She told him she didn’t think he should do it but didn’t order him not to. She was a classic Obamaian.
For instance, Witten argues that if Comey really lays into Trump on the phony wiretapping thing, it could mean that there is not much more left to investigate on Russiagate. It would also suggest Comey doesn’t mind being fired.
Back to Politico:
“Both congressional intelligence committees are looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow as part of their investigations — an issue Stewart said he hopes Comey will tackle on Monday.”
“We want information on any investigations that are taking place,” said the Republican congressman. “There’s this story that the president was elected because of the influence of a foreign government. If that’s true, once again, that’s an enormous story, has enormous implications. The American people deserve to know whether that is true, as well.”
This, of course, is the big picture.
But according to Wittes, while Democrats may be disappointed in Comey not saying much, it might be the best sign there’s something here.
“A sure sign that the Russia Connection is not that big a deal is if Comey talks about it.”
“In the third scenario, Russia is a very big deal. Comey, in other words, has significant investigative equities to protect and he believes that he needs to be there in order to protect them—in other words, that he has a responsibility to not get himself fired because of his anger about the Trump tweets (or anything else) because he has to make sure the investigation can proceed unimpeded. In this situation, I would expect him to be minimally verbal. He may have to answer yes or no questions in certain instances, including about the truth of the wiretapping allegations, but he will refuse to answer a lot of questions. He will make as little news as humanly possible. He will be exceptionally spare with his opinions. He will make a point of not antagonizing the President. Lots of people will leave disappointed.”
“If I were advising Trump, this is the scenario that would scare me most. We know, both from the hospital room testimony and from the Clinton email testimony, how Comey behaves when he feels at liberty to speak. We also know he’s angry right now and would presumably love a chance to defend the integrity of his agency and his agents. If he passes up that opportunity, I will read that as a sign that he is biting his lip very hard because there’s something more important at stake. ”
Just a few hours, folks. I know I’m counting the seconds.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.