Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comey Testifies

I watched the hearing on CSPAN-3 because I didn’t want to hear the opinion from any of the typical talking head commentators.  The hoi polloi that call into CSPAN don’t count. :-)

Director Comey did a very credible job today.  He came across as an honest man doing his best to be transparent, with one exception. 

The only Senator that came after him, somewhat surprisingly, was John McCain.  The senator that Trumpies love to hate did the best job of making Comey look duplicitous.  His line of questioning was about the Clinton email investigation that Comey announced had come to an end last July.  His point, that Comey either didn’t understand or was pretending not to understand, was why was the Trump campaign was still under investigation regarding connections to Russia while the door was closed to any criminal charges against the Clinton campaign.

The answer is pretty obvious.  The Clinton campaign was the victim of Russian espionage so it would be logical to assume that they were not involved in a conspiracy with the Russians to hack themselves.  This line of questioning I find below the standards of John McCain.  But, he’s a political animal who is trying to raise his political capital with Trump supporters.  This was a good way to do it and not involve himself in the core issue of whether Trump engaged in obstruction of justice. 

The most revelatory thing to come out of this was when Comey admitted to having leaked unclassified notes of his Oval Office conversation with Trump to a friend, Dan Richman at Columbia University who subsequently released it to the New York Times.  It’s important to note that Mr. Comey was a private citizen at this point in time having been fired on May 9.

Speaker Ryan in a news conference today did his best to excuse the President choice of words as frustration with Mr. Comey and his ignorance of Washington and its protocols.  True,  but it's been 150 odd days. The president needs to start listening to people and stop self-destructive behavior.  Not tweeting today was a good start.

President Trump has an opportunity to actually do some good for this country.  It’s true that our allies have been taking advantage of us when it comes to defense.  It’s impressive that China has done more to rein in North Korea since Trump has become president, not nearly enough, but it’s a start. 

The trip to the meet with Islamic, Jewish and Christian leaders in an attempt to stop ISIS and Iranian terror campaigns is laudatory.  He, perhaps inadvertently, indirectly pointed to the true root cause of all the terrorism in the world; religion.  But perhaps more about this in a future essay.

President Trump was elected in part because of his business acumen.  Real Estate is a rough and tumble business.  Even more so in New York.  Being a bully and a bit nefarious in business was how he got things done.  I forget in how many hundreds of lawsuits as either defendant or plaintiff he's been involved.  That approach doesn't work in modern U.S. politics.  When all you know is how to negotiate it's like a guy who only has a hammer.  Everything looks like a nail.

Mack Kasowitz, the president’s lawyer just released a statement focusing on the leak that Mr. Comey admitted to doing after he was terminated.  Mr. Kasowitz says that Comey authorized the leak of classified information.  I listed to everyone word of this hearing.  And I’ll listen to it again.  But I don’t think that’s true.  The only leak to which Comey admitted was the notes from his Oval Office meeting.  Mr. Kasowitz is not correct in his assertion that classified information was leaked by Mr. Comey.  However, If what Comey did admit to was illegal, he just made it easy for Special Counsel Mueller’s to indict him.  We’ll see.

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