The mainstream media, left-wing Democrats, and “Never Trump” Republicans all breathlessly hoped for weeks that former FBI director James Comey’s testimony on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee would be the beginning of the end of President Donald Trump’s presidency.
Mainstream media cable networks like CNN had countdown clocks. Broadcast networks covered the hearing as if it would go down as one of the most seminal events in the history of the country. “Never Trump” Republicans were getting ready to be used as the mainstream media’s useful idiots and get their predictable television hits and quotes in mainstream media publications. Left-wing Democrats were dreaming of drafting articles of impeachment. They lionized Comey as their hero who would help them destroy Trump once and for all.
Not so fast.
After nearly three hours of testimony, Comey established that Trump did not collude with Russia and, as Breitbart’s Joel Pollak pointed out, “all but destroyed any hope Democrats had for bringing a case of obstruction of justice.”
The press and anti-Trump forces on the left and right were still hoping for “new information” that would destroy Trump. But to their surprise—and chagrin—the only new bits of information Comey revealed actually made Comey, the mainstream press, and Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton and then-President Barack Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch, look bad before a captivated national audience.
In the end, Comey, Democrats, Never Trumpers, and the mainstream press turned out be losers while Trump, especially because the mainstream media so overhyped the hearing, emerged as the victor.
NBC’s Chuck Todd set the table on Sunday for the mainstream media’s breathless coverage, predicting that Comey’s testimony “may well join those rare historic moments when the whole country stops to watch. Think Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. Watergate hearings in 1973. Oliver North’s testimony in the Iran Contra hearings in 1987, and of course Anita Hill at the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991.”
But the media got the sense that Comey’s testimony would be a dud for them on Wednesday when Comey released his introductory statement in which he confirmed Trump’s account that Comey had told Trump on multiple occasions that the President was not under FBI investigation.
Before, during, and after Comey’s testimony, the mainstream press looked as deflated as Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James did after Golden State’s Kevin Durant drained a go-ahead pull-up three-pointer in the waning moments of game three of the NBA Finals on Wednesday evening.
Trump felt “vindicated” by Comey’s introductory remarks, which may be why Comey conveniently decided not to read them before a captivated national audience.
“I’ve submitted my statement for the record, and I’m not going to repeat it here this morning,” he said.
Comey, though, revealed some information that further discredited the mainstream press that had deliberately ginned up talk of impeachment. They did so by using stories based solely on anonymous sources and double hearsay—some of which have since been discredited.
The former FBI director told Senators that the New York Times’ February 14 article, based on four anonymous sources, that suggested Trump’s campaign possibly colluded with Russians a year before the 2016 presidential campaign was “not true.”
Sen. James Risch (R-ID) pointed out that after the story’s publication, Comey “sought out both Republican and Democrat senators to tell them that, hey, I don’t know where this is coming from, but this is not the case. This is not factual.”
“In the main, it was not true,” Comey said of the story. “And again, all of you know this. Maybe the American people don’t. The challenge, and I’m not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is the people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on, and going on are not talking about it. We don’t call the press to say, hey, you don’t that thing wrong about the sensitive topic. We have to leave it there.”
Comey said there were many more mainstream media articles about the FBI’s Russia investigation, based on anonymous sources, that were “dead wrong.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) asked Comey: “Have there been news accounts about the Russian investigation or collusion about the whole event or as you read the story you were wrong about how wrong they got the facts?”
“Yes, there have been many, many stories based on — well, lots of stuff but about Russia that are dead wrong,” Comey responded.
On Wednesday, ABC and CNN falsely reported, based on their anonymous sources, that Comey would dispute Trump’s claim that Comey told him he was never under investigation. When he fired Comey, Trump wrote: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”
Before Comey released his introductory remarks, CNN’s Gloria Borger claimed “Comey is expected to explain to senators that those were much more nuanced conversations from which Trump concluded that he was not under investigation.” CNN, citing an anonymous source, reported that Comey would “refute” Trump during his testimony and “say he never assured Donald Trump that he was not under investigation, that that would have been improper for him to do so.” CNN then had to issue this embarrassing correction:
CORRECTION AND UPDATE: This article was published before Comey released his prepared opening statement. The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that Comey does not directly dispute that Trump was told multiple times he was not under investigation in his prepared testimony released after this story was published.
In addition, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) pointed out that the only bit of information that the Deep State did not leak to the mainstream press was the fact that Trump was not under investigation.
Comey also revealed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch pressured him into misleading the public about the FBI’s “investigation” of Hillary Clinton’s emails. And yet, the mainstream media never dug enough to report that bit of inconvenient news.
Comey’s surprising revelation that he orchestrated the leaking of his “contemporaneous” memo to the mainstream media raised more questions than answers.
When Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) asked Comey if he showed his memos to anyone outside the Justice Department, Comey matter-of-factly revealed that he asked his friend to leak his memo to the mainstream media.
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons,” he said. “I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. I asked a close friend to do it.”
Comey revealed that his “close friend” is a professor at Columbia law school. Reporters later determined that that person is Daniel Richman. Richmond’s Columbia University bio states that he “is currently an adviser to FBI Director James B. Comey.”
“I asked—the president tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I better hope there’s not tapes,” Comey stated. “I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night because it didn’t dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation. There might a tape. My judgement was, I need to get that out into the public square.”
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley said he found “Comey’s admission to be deeply troubling from a professional and ethical standpoint.”
“Would Director Comey have approved such a rule for FBI agents?” he asked. “Thus, an agent can prepare a memo during office hours on an FBI computer about a meeting related to his service . . . but leak that memo to the media. The Justice Department has long defined what constitutes government documents broadly.”
He added that “it is not clear if Comey had the documents reviewed for classification at the confidential level or confirmed that they would be treated as entirely private property. What is clear is that he did not clear the release of the memos with anyone in the government.”
“Comey’s statement of a good motivation does not negate the concerns over his chosen means of a leak. Moreover, the timing of the leak most clearly benefited Comey not the cause of a Special Counsel,” Turley added. “It was clear at that time that a Special Counsel was likely. More importantly, Comey clearly understood that these memos would be sought. That leads inevitably to the question of both motivation as well as means.” There are also questions about whether Comey may have lied under oath about when he actually leaked his own memo.
Comey, after accusing Trump of lying about and defaming the FBI, also tried to paint Trump as a serial liar.
“I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document,” he said. “That combination of things I had never experienced before, but had led me to believe I got to write it down and write it down in a very detailed way.”
He added, “my common sense, again I could be wrong, but my common sense told me what’s going on here is, he’s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job.”
But the bottom line is on the most important point—whether Comey told Trump on multiple occasions that he was not under investigation—Trump was telling the truth all along, even though mainstream media outlets like the Associated Press did everything to make American doubt Trump.
Obama Administration/Loretta Lynch
Comey’s testimony revealed that there may be just as many—if not more—questions surrounding the Obama administration regarding possible malfeasance.
When asked if former President Bill Clinton’s infamous tarmac meeting with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch led him to go public with the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, Comey said, “yes,” adding that the incident was conclusively “the thing that capped it for me, that I had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation, which meant both the FBI and the justice department.”
Comey later revealed that he felt “queasy” when Lynch “had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me, but that was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.”
“I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way it was describing that,” he said. “It was inaccurate. We had an investigation open for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we had an investigation open at the time. That gave me a queasy feeling.”
Even CNN’s Chris Cilizza had to begrudgingly admit that Loretta Lynch “is having a surprisingly bad day in the Comey testimony.”
Loretta Lynch is having a surprisingly bad day in the Comey testimony
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) June 8, 2017
As Breitbart’s John Hayward noted, the “big takeaway from the Comey hearing” may have been the “urgent need to investigate Loretta Lynch, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton for obstruction.”
Big takeaway from the Comey hearing: urgent need to investigate Loretta Lynch, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton for obstruction
— John Hayward (@Doc_0) June 8, 2017
Left-wing Democrats and Never Trumpers
Liberals and left-wing activists in places like San Francisco reportedly took the day off of work to attend various “viewing parties.
As soon as Trump fired Comey, the usual “Never Trump” suspects like Ana Navarro, Jennifer Rubin, and Max Boot immediately started floating the idea of “impeachment.” Boot predicted that “if Democrats take control of Congress in 2018, the firing of Comey will form one of the articles of impeachment.” Rubin added that “House R’s should consider: Either a special pros/select committee now or impeachment if D’s take House.”
But it was a bad day for Democrats and Never Trumpers looking to ramp up their impeachment demands.
Even MSNBC’s Chris Matthews had to concede that Comey’s testimony revealed that there is no case to be made that Trump colluded with the Russians.
And as Breitbart’s Pollak pointed out, Comey’s exchange with Risch destroyed their hopes of bringing an “obstruction of justice” against Trump. Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz also declared that there is “no plausible case” that Trump obstructed justice. In his memo, Comey recalled that Trump told him, “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.”
As Risch pointed out, Comey may have “taken it as direction but that’s not” exactly what Trump said:
RISCH: You may have taken it as a direction but that’s not what he said.
RISCH: He said, I hope.
COMEY: Those are his exact words, correct.
RISCH: You don’t know of anyone ever being charged for hoping something, is that a fair statement?
COMEY: I don’t as I sit here.
Having no case for impeachment after Comey’s Thursday testimony, it is not surprising that there has was not a peep about impeachment from left-wing Democrats like Rep. Maxine “Get Ready for Impeachment” Waters (D-CA). Instead, Waters was railing against Wall Street. Mainstream media journalists were complaining about Trump’s character, mendacity, and temperament. Showing her Trump Derangement Syndrome, Rubin, though, continued to bring up potential impeachment.
Senators confused if they think only spec pros decides if Comey or Trump truthful. House in impeachment and Senate in trial must decide
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) June 8, 2017
As George Washington’s Turley pointed out, though, “having a duplicitous or dishonest nature is not an impeachable offense. Indeed, if that standard were applied in Washington generally, it would be a ghost town.”
“The saturation of Watergate analogies in the media however seems wildly detached from either the actual testimony or history. If Watergate was a cancer growing on the presidency, this is still little more than a canker sore — not great to look at but hardly life threatening,” Turley continued. “It could get worse but what Comey described in his testimony was boorish and even brutish but not necessarily an indictable or impeachable offense. Article I is not a book of etiquette for presidents. If Trump said these things to Comey, they are incredibly improper and ill-advised. Yet, the Nixon comparison works in favor of the position of Trump more than it does Comey.”
President Donald Trump
Is he getting tired of winning yet?
Liberal anchors like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews conceded that there is no case for collusion. Comey’s exchange with Risch will make it difficult to bring an “obstruction of justice” against Trump. It turned out that Comey initiated the first one-on-one meeting with Trump during the transition period.
During his testimony, Comey reiterated that Trump never asked him to stop the FBI’s Russia investigation and was never under investigation in the first place. He also revealed that it is normal for foreign governments to reach out to officials in the incoming administration. He vindicated Trump’s claims about the “fake news” mainstream media. He reminded Americans that “the law required no reason at all” for Trump to fire an FBI director.
Comey testified that he was “confident” that no votes in the 2016 presidential election were altered. “When I left as director I had seen no indication of that whatsoever,” he said.
The bottom line is the media hyped Comey’s hearing so much that Trump would have emerged as the winner so long as Comey didn’t have a “smoking gun” or dropped a “bombshell” that proved Trump colluded with the Russians.
Though Trump reportedly decided the night before Comey’s testimony that he would not live-tweet rebuttals, the fact that he did not feel compelled to tweet during Comey’s testimony said it all. It turns out that when it came to the most important points, Trump did not have much to rebut.
Trump ends remarks on Comey Day without mentioning the word "Comey" or directly referencing the testimony. pic.twitter.com/ucZhYsslX6
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 8, 2017