It’s all happening.
Unless you live under a rock, you know the former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate on Thursday to provide his account of his interactions with Donald Trump before his ultimate firing, and whether or not POTUS tried to interfere with the FBI’s Russia investigation.
Yesterday, Comey’s opening statement was released by the SIC, which outlined Comey’s claim that the President asked him for a pledge of loyalty and requested he help “lift the cloud” of the Russia probe by publicly stating Trump was not being investigated.
Today, we dove deeper.
Before we get into the details of the conversations with Drumpf, Comey did make one very important point clear while under oath:
“There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. 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 effort. It was driven from the top of their government. It’s not a close call — that happened.”
So there’s that.
Here are the highlights you need to know (below):
— Comey said the White House’s claim to the American people that agents had lost confidence in Comey “were lies, plain and simple.”
— Comey admitted Trump was not specifically under FBI investigation, but POTUS’ conduct did fall within “the scope of” the investigation.
— Comey felt inclined to take detailed notes after his private conversations with Trump (something he had never done with George W. Bush or Barack Obama) because he felt Trump may lie about the discussions later:
“I was honestly concerned that [Trump] might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document … The combination of factors just wasn’t present with either President Bush or President Obama.”
— Comey confirmed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was fired at the time he was facing a criminal investigation.
— After his firing, Comey revealed he had enlisted the help of a “close friend” to leak information regarding his meetings with Trump to a journalist. This was done in hopes that it would lead to the appointment of a special counsel for the Russia investigation — which is what ultimately happened.
— “Not to my understanding, no,” Comey confirmed on whether Trump attempted to stop the Russia investigation.
— Knowing what he knew then, and what he knows now, Comey said he would have handled the Hillary Clinton email probe just before the election the same way.
— Comey was confused when he was instructed by the ex-Attorney General to refer to Clinton email case as a “matter,” and not an “investigation.”
— Comey asserted that Russia “coming after America” is a “big deal”:
“We’re talking about a foreign government that tried to shape the way we think, the way we vote, we act. That is a big deal… They’re coming after America. They want to undermine our credibility in the world.”
— Comey on Russian “loyalty”:
“It’s not a Republican thing or a Democrat thing, it really is an American thing. They’re gonna come for whatever party they choose to try and work on behalf of. They’re not devoted to either in my experience. They’re just about their own advantage, and they will be back.”
— In reference to Trump’s tweets regarding recordings of their conversations, Comey said:
“That’s why I very carefully chose the words. I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes. Again, maybe other people would be stronger in that circumstance. That’s how I conducted myself. I hope I never have another opportunity, maybe if I did it again I would do it better.”
— Comey absolutely believes the Russia probe lead to his firing, mainly because Trump has said so specifically:
Do you believe the Russia investigation played a role in your firing?
— He later added to that same point, saying:
“Again, I take the president’s words. I know I was fired because of something about the way I was conducting the Russia investigation was in some way putting pressure on him, in some way irritating him, and he decided to fire me because of that.”
— Comey reiterated that he “took it as direction” when Trump said he “hoped” Comey would let the Michael Flynn probe go.
— Most people were very confused when John McCain tried to argue that there is a “double standard” between Comey’s handling of Hillary’s email probe and Trump’s Russia investigation:
#Comey tries to figure out wtf McCain, who keeps calling Trump “Comey,” is talking about. Why Hillary isn’t in Trump/Russia probe? pic.twitter.com/eHMxVsvkVi
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) June 8, 2017
Since the hearing concluded, the White House via Sarah Huckabee Sanders has refuted Comey’s assertion that Trump is a “liar”:
“I can definitively say the president is not a liar. It’s frankly insulting that the question would be asked.”
Buckle up, Perezcious readers, things are about to get very interesting!