On Thursday, memos written by former FBI Director James Comey were released that were supposed to prove that the president tried to obstruct justice in his dealings with the FBI director.
There’s just one problem: They don’t.
There’s a lot of material in here, but the meaty stuff has to do with the infamous one-on-one dinner where Trump allegedly pressured Comey.
However, the “pressure” doesn’t exactly read like the Mafia boss showdown we’d all been promised.
Comey begins by saying that Trump said he “needed loyalty and expected loyalty,” Fox News reported.
The FBI director wrote that he “did not reply, or even nod or change my facial expression, which (Trump) noted because we came back to it later.” Later in the dinner, Trump said, “I need loyalty.”
“I replied that he would always get honesty from me,” Comey replied. “(Trump) paused and said that’s what he wants, ‘honest loyalty.’ I replied, ‘you will get that from me.'”
“It is possible we understood that phrase differently,” Comey said, “but I chose to understand it as consistent with what I had said throughout the conversation: I will serve the President with loyalty to the office, the country, and the truth (Emphasis ours). I decided it would not be productive to push the subject further.”
What loyalty means to Comey is important, because it forms a great deal of his judgement that the president meant to commit obstruction of justice, as he said Trump may have done during his interview with George Stephanopoulos.
Yet, Comey himself seemed entirely confused over what the president meant by the word. If he thought it was something definitive indicating he wanted the FBI director to act as a yes man and obstruct justice — including in the Flynn case — that judgement only came much later. At the time, he chose to understand it far differently.
In March of 2017, Comey also noted discussions he had about Russia with the president.
“I reminded (Trump) that I had told him we weren’t investigating him and that I had told the Congressional leadership the same thing,” he wrote. “(Trump) said it would be great if that could get out and several times asked me to find a way to get that out.”
A joint statement from the Trey Gowdy, Devin Nunes and Bob Goodlatte — chairmen of the House Oversight, Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, respectively, said the Comey’s memos “show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated.”
“The memos also made clear the ‘cloud’ President Trump wanted lifted was not the Russian interference in the 2016 election cloud, rather it was the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier.”
Full document below:
This being Washington in 2018, the release of the Comey memos led to a sort of Twitter version of “Dueling Banjos.”
James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
The release of #Comey Memos are further proof of @realDonaldTrump’s contempt for the rule of law. His attempts to intimidate, circumvent the law & undermine integrity of law enforcement investigations demand immediate action to protect the Mueller investigation. #FollowTheFacts
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 20, 2018
It’s always nice to see someone use the hashtag #FollowTheFacts when said person recently sent out a fundraising email claiming Robert Mueller had been fired. But I digress.
The word of the year in 2017, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “youthquake“: “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.” That’s a pile of rubbish, but I have an early contender for 2018: “nothingburger.” It’s pretty self-explanatory. This has been the year of the nothingburger, from the Russia investigation to James Comey’s new book.
In fact, pretty much nothing exemplifies the nothingburger quite the way James Comey does.
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