Hans von Spakovsky, former Justice Department attorney and a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, discussed former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning’s edition of Breitbart News Daily.
SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam observed that by Comey’s own account, he took notes during his meetings with President Trump but not President Obama, which would suggest “an element of prejudice that Jim Comey took into that relationship from the outset.”
“I actually agree with that. I actually think his opening statement is more of an indictment of him than of the president,” said Spakovsky. “If he thought that he was being asked somehow to do something wrong in his dinner conversation with the president, then his duty was to go back to his office, write a letter of resignation, and leave the FBI.”
“But he didn’t do that, so he obviously at the time didn’t think there was anything wrong with what the president and he were talking about – for example, the loyalty that the president expected from subordinates,” he continued. “Every president expects that. Instead, what does he do? He goes back to his office and writes a CYA memo to be able to use later, if in fact he gets fired.”
“It’s pretty clear he was looking out for himself and not the president. I think that really destroys his credibility,” Spakovsky said.
Kassam proposed that Comey’s recollections of his conversations with Trump about political conflicts within the FBI make the former director seem naive or foolish.
“I was at the Justice Department when Comey was there during the Bush administration,” he recalled. “I have to tell you, Comey had this reputation amongst everyone who worked there of being always concerned with Number One: What would make Comey look good? I think this is just another example of that, and his whole attitude.”
“Whether or not he’s dumb? Think what else is in this statement,” Spakovsky advised. “He admits telling the president several times the president was not under investigation, that there was no evidence whatsoever that the president had done anything wrong with regard to Russia – and yet he said he didn’t think it was wise to say that publicly.”
“Well, that certainly wasn’t what he did with Hillary Clinton last year, when he held a press conference to say that he wasn’t going to charge her, and that she hadn’t done anything wrong,” he pointed out. “There’s a complete hypocrisy in that conflict there. One doesn’t make sense with his prior behavior. It really looks like he was acting politically all along, to be sure that he looked good in whatever eventually became public.”
Spakovsky argued that President Trump’s request for “honest loyalty” from Comey, as described in Comey’s notes on his conversation with the president, did not violate the proper relationship between the White House and the FBI. He agreed with Kassam that the odd specificity of Comey’s notes about facial expressions and long pauses in the conversation absurdly dramatized a rather ordinary exchange.
“It makes it look like this was a nice piece of creative writing that he put in the file to be able to use later,” Spakovsky said.
He further recalled Comey saying in 2016 that “he didn’t think a prosecutor would take a case against Hillary Clinton because she didn’t intend for classified information to get in the hands of foreign governments.”
“Well, he is absolutely wrong about that, which certainly brings into question his legal competence,” Spakovsky asserted. “Remember, when Bill Clinton left the presidency, right before he left, on his last day, he gave a pardon to John Deutch, his former CIA director. Why? Deutch was about to agree to a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department for keeping classified materials on his unsecured home computer. Does that sound familiar?”
He found merit in the idea that Comey went after President Trump, in part, to atone for what Democrats perceive as the mortal sin of damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“The other thing about the way he’s been acting, the CYA memo he put together – how much would you all like to bet that he’s already got his book in the works that he’s going to put together about all of this?” Spakovsky asked.
He predicted that “anybody who is expecting to get any details of the so-called Russia investigation isn’t going to get them” from the Comey hearing.
“As the former head of the FBI, he cannot reveal details of an ongoing federal investigation,” Spakovsky explained. “We’ve heard from many people that it’s ongoing, so there aren’t going to be any details revealed about that.”
“He’s already said what happened in those conversations, and what happened in those conversations do not amount to obstruction of justice under the applicable federal statutes,” he added, recommending an article he wrote for Fox News for elaboration.
“There’s going to be a lot of going back and forth, but I have no doubt he already put out his best evidence, and it doesn’t amount to obstruction of justice,” he insisted. “So while there may be some fireworks, we’re not going to really hear any other details that in any way, I think, make the kind of case the Democrats want made against the president.”
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.