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Highlights: James Comey Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee

Highlights: James Comey Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee

Peak media mouth-froth

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Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today, discussing his interactions with President Trump.

Wednesday, Comey released the transcript of his opening remarks detailing his interactions with President Trump. His statement confirmed what we’ve been saying here at LI — the political media mouth frothing is all for naught. Trump does not come out unscathed, in fact, his impropriety is brought front and center, but there’s certainly no smoking gun here. At least not based on anything we’ve seen thus far.

It’s also apparent no one has any clue what “Obstruction of Justice” entails beyond what they wish it to mean. But the media is so invested in the Comey/Russia/Trump storyline, even major networks like NBC and CBS have canceled regular broadcasting in order to air the hearing live.

Everyone hears what they want to hear:

Bank on this line in Comey’s opening remarks being the main media takeaway:

Passing the obstruction buck:

In case you still thought there was a shred of purity in the system:

Someone’s not happy about getting canned:

Media malfeasance is the only smoking gun to come out of this hearing:

From The Hill:

CNN issues correction after Comey statement contradicts reporting:

CNN has corrected a Tuesday report after the release of former FBI Director James Comey’s opening statement for his Thursday testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee contradicted the report’s sources.

The CNN report said Comey was expected to dispute President Trump’s claims that Comey said he was not under investigation on multiple occasions.

The report, titled “Comey expected to refute Trump,” was based on unnamed sources and said Comey’s conversations with the president “were much more nuanced,” and that Trump drew the wrong conclusion.

The story was complied by four CNN journalists, including Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus.

Borger reiterated the report’s claims in an appearance on CNN on Tuesday.

“Comey is going to dispute the president on this point if he’s asked about it by senators, and we have to assume that he will be,” said Borger, the network’s chief political analyst. “He will say he never assured Donald Trump that he was not under investigation, that that would have been improper for him to do so.”

Comey’s opening statement did, however, mention asserting that Trump was not under investigation; however, the statement failed to specify whether Trump was not under criminal investigation, only saying there was no counterintelligence investigation on the president.

And then there’s this one. Under oath, Comey confirmed the New York Times story about the alleged Trump/Russia collusion was inaccurate.

From the Washington Examiner:

James Comey testifies that a New York Times report on Trump campaign collusion with Russia is ‘false’

The New York Times got it wrong when it reported this year that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 election, former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey testified Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The New York Times story, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence,” was published on Feb. 14.

The story, which was anonymously sourced, alleged that members of Trump’s campaign team communicated with Russian agents at around the same time that hackers published personal emails stolen from Democratic National Committee staffers and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

However, Comey flatly disputed all of that.

“That report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?” Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, asked.

“In the main, it was not true,” Comey replied. “The challenge, and I’m not picking on reporters, about writing on classified information is: The people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on, and those of us who actually know what’s going on are not talking about it.”

Political media reaction:


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So much for the vice-chairman cautioning everyone to not make this about politics. No sooner than stating that, he launches right in with political lies (Comey requested that meeting, not Trump), praising Comey for “truth to power” and reframing everything to sound alarmingly incriminating of Trump.

Let’s see if McCain takes that line of questioning to another level.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Pasadena Phil. | June 18, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    The “truth to power” comment wasa reference to something that happened during the Bush Administration – when he and Mueller threatened to resign over the surveillance program.

Burr’s love-fest with Comey was nauseating. So many missed opportunities.

    It’s not just Comey who came out looking bad today but the senators themselves. They never come off well. Their unctuousness is always off-putting.

    I first heard the word “unctuous” used when I started reading Allen Drury political novels many years ago. Since then, I have come to understand why. No word better describes politicians, especially US senators.

      There were a few Senators who were good – kept to questions, didn’t repeat, didn’t waste time with statements. But they knew that the TV coverage was significant.

Burr is a McCain globalist…sick

I am not going to condemn or defend Comey’s actions with regard to the Hillary investigations. He was obviously put in a no-win situation.

Two points he just made that ’caused him to come forward with his July 2016 press conference
1) the Tarmac Meeting between Bill and Loretta
2) Loretta instructing Comey to refer to the Hillary investigation as only a “matter” and never to call it an investigation.
3) a third matter that was disclosed to the committee behind closed doors that was much more significant – likely demonstrating significant DOJ interference.

    Sorry for the down vote but I DID press reply. This happens a lot. Is there a glitch? Maybe the thread design could be modified to move the reply button to the bottom of the comment?

    Anyway, this entire hearing is framed in a way that assumes that Trump was the one who requested meeting with Comey and that it be one-on-one. Hannity has been claiming that it was Comey who wanted the meeting and insisting that it be one-on-one. Does anyone know what the facts are on this?

      Barry in reply to Pasadena Phil. | June 8, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      “Does anyone know what the facts are on this?”

      Since Comey is a crook and a liar, assume the opposite of what he says and you’ll have a 99.99999% chance of being correct.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Joe-dallas. | June 18, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    3) a third matter that was disclosed to the committee behind closed doors that was much more significant – likely demonstrating significant DOJ interference.

    Impossible to tell what it was. By the way, he said there more than that.

    He said what was published about the third matter was nonsense.

    COMEY: There were other things that contributed to that. One significant item I can’t, I know the committee’s been briefed on. There’s been some
    public accounts of it, which are nonsense, but I understand the committee’s been briefed on the classified facts.

    that might be the alleged fake email supposedly from Debbie Wasserman Shultz to an some person (Leonard Benardo) at the Open Society Foundations (a George Soros funded organization) saying that Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign (Amanda Renteria) that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter.

    The document, said the Washington Post, was a piece of purported analysis by Russian intelligence.

    Comey was supposedly afraid this document would leak.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-a-dubious-russian-document-influenced-the-fbis-handling-of-the-clinton-probe/2017/05/24/f375c07c-3a95-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html

buckeyeminuteman | June 8, 2017 at 11:12 am

Comey hearing = Dem’s latest and greatest Geraldo moment

    Tom Servo in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | June 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

    FEELINGS… whoa whoa whoa whoa FEELINGS!

    is there anything other than that going on here? What a pathetic whiny little biyotch of a man Comey is turning out to be. Trump was right not to trust him, and right to fire him.

      Merlin in reply to Tom Servo. | June 8, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      There has never been a good way forward for Comey. His original sin was conducting an investigation involving a Clinton and everything since has been a compounding of that original sin. An independent and thorough investigation was not possible if the DOJ was determined to direct political interference against the FBI. The WH may not have overtly directed that interference, but Obama’s will was still done without his fingerprints on it. Comey was a politically dead man walking from the very beginning. Democrats and Republican’s alike, albeit for slightly different reasons, couldn’t exsanguinate Comey fast enough. Continuing to slither among the DC swamp critters is not in his best interest at all. He’s simply too far down the food chain to survive.

        Joe-dallas in reply to Merlin. | June 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm

        See my comment above where comey implies that there were definite “hints” forwarded to him from DOJ and the WH regarding the Hillary investigation.

        Trump’s interference was amuteur hour compared to the Obama’s administration interference in the Hillary investigation

    Still not as good as the “John Poindexter moment” when he took full responsibility for Iran Contra and claimed he kept Ronald Reagan in the dark.

Why don’t they ask him how many meetings he had with Valerie J?

Also, it would be interesting for someone to ask Comey and others if the Obama Administration worked to interfere with elections of other countries – Israel and Brexit to be specific…

    Milhouse in reply to Liz. | June 8, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Why would Comey have any knowledge of that? It’s not illegal, so he wouldn’t be investigating it. The Russian interference, whatever it may turn out to be, was not in itself a matter for the FBI either; but their previous infiltration of the DNC and Podesta email accounts was.

    If there’s a scandal at all in any of this, it would be if someone on the Trump payroll asked the Russians to do that. But there’s absolutely no indication of such a thing, no reason to suppose it happened, and nobody is even alleging it, so there’s no grounds for the FBI to be looking into it. On the contrary, it seems obvious that the Russians did that (if they did) on their own, for the same reason they spy on everyone important. At the time they probably had no plans to do anything about the election. Those would have come later.

So now Comey admits he had a “friend” leak his infamous contemporaneous memo of his Trump meeting (which is Federal Government Property) to the New York Times. Great evidence of bias.

If I had an associate who felt compelled to right a memo to file about every encounter she had with me, I’d fire her too.

    And his excuse is that he didn’t want to take the flak himself because he was leaving for a “getaway weekend with his wife”. It’s always personal with Comey. When confronted with calling Trump a liar, he demured by bringing his mother into it “My mother brought me up to not say certain things”.

    If there was any integrity on that committee, they stop asking questions about what he thinks Trump was thinking and what he thinks Trump’s motives were. This entire issue boils down to “he said, he said”. We already know what everyone said they said. Let everyone speak for themselves.

    Today’s circus has nothing to do with truth. It’s 100% about Comey trying to secure his version of “the truth” in as big a way as possible. So once again, the establishment provides him with an international stage for his latest one-man show about nothing. Selling the sizzle, not the steak.

    objection in reply to counsel. | June 8, 2017 at 11:57 am

    So Comey admits to leaking his memo so a Special Counsel would be appointed to investigate Trump. Yet if his motives were as altruistic as he claims why did he not act in a similar way with Lynch and Obama? Self-Serving statements.

    What a target rich cross examination environment. A once in a career change.

      dystopia in reply to objection. | June 8, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Obama is the author of The Audacity of Hope. Comey should write a tome called The Audacity of a Dope

      healthguyfsu in reply to objection. | June 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Trump’s people could also point out his inability to contain leaks as reasons for ousting and use his testimony as proof that he was not only ineffective but also complicit.

    snopercod in reply to counsel. | June 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Circa is reporting: “Comey’s leaker is reportedly Columbia law professor Daniel Richman.”

As a manager, I asked staff if they were happy in the job, telling them that I was satisfied with their job. But, I wanted to make sure that they were feeling ok. I’ve told staff to check out jobs to make sure that they are in the right place and I gave recommendations.

But, if they did something significantly bad, I would have had no issue with firing that person.

Also, the FBI director reports to the AG, so once the AG and the AAG were approved, they had every right to review his body of work and make a recommendation to the President. Those two have their reasons and the President could have his reason. They are not mutually exclusive.

The only substantial thing I see here is the admission that the BillyJeff/Lynch conspiracy was Comey’s excuse to pervert the investigation into Hillary ServerGate.

Not quite what they were all hoping for.

    I don’t think this is going well for Comey. “Did you ever initiate any phone calls with Trump?” No, well…. (it’s complicated)”

    I’d also like to know the name of that “Harvard Law professor” who leaked his “memorialized notes” to the press for him.

    I wonder how many times he has perjured himself already. The superficial comity being presented by the committee may be lulling him into a false sense of safety and immunity.

I have to say that Marco Rubio is growing on me. I didn’t like him much during the primaries… but I thought he was excellent in his questioning of Comey.

    Liz in reply to clintack. | June 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Sometimes being in Congress is the best job for some people.

    Neo in reply to clintack. | June 8, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    I tried to warm up to Rubio during the primaries and before, but he kept taking stupid positions till I just had to walk away.

      clintack in reply to Neo. | June 8, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Yep. I had the same experience.

      But outside the context of the primaries… I’m glad we have this guy exactly where he is.

      (Sort of the same thing I say when people scream “RINO!!!” about Republican governors of extremely Democratic states.)

ugottabekiddinme | June 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm

It’s all very well that those watching the hearing will see it blowing away the Russia collusion story and identifying Comey as the leaker of his own self-serving memo. But for most people, who are not watching, this is the story they will get:

HEADLINE: “Comey: Trump administration spread ‘lies, plain and simple’

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Former FBI Director James Comey accused the Trump administration Thursday of spreading “lies, plain and simple” about him and the FBI in the aftermath of his abrupt firing, in dramatic testimony that threatened to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency.”

Sad.

The media will focus entirely on feelings, beliefs & assumptions. Not on facts. Take it to the bank.

Here is what Alan Dershowitz thinks about all of this:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-08/alan-dershowitz-schools-cnn-panel-%E2%80%98it-simply-not-crime-president-exercise-his-consti

There nothing being addressed by today’s Comey-NeverTrumper Senate Lovefest. It just doesn’t matter what Trump did nor that Comey thinks about it. This is just about Comey trying to paint the historical memory more favorable and making a pitch for a book deal with movie rights. Of course, that comes at the cost of Comey very likely perjuring himself again.

    I’m with the Dersh.

    clintack in reply to Pasadena Phil. | June 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Alan Dershowitz has never been afraid to be out of step with “mainstream” thinking.

    It makes him a rare bird right now — he’s an unapologetic liberal who hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid and isn’t shy about saying so.

      Tom Servo in reply to clintack. | June 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Dersh is also one of the last prominent Jewish Democrats who still supports and cares deeply about Israel.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 8, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Has the Clinton Cronie Arkancided himself yet?

An Arkancide on a televised broadcast would be a first!

Snark!

“Former FBI Director James Comey blasted fake news and leakers during his Thursday testimony in front of the Senate Intel committee, calling reports of collusion “nonsense.”

The housewives of America are pissed because the hearings per-empted the noontime soap operas.

In some good news – there were 11 new judicial nominations and about 20 nominations for administration positions.

And, I’m still happy that Sessions stopped the Obama DOJ policy of letting companies pay their settlements to a third party and not to the victims or to the treasury.

I am sad Trump has to go through this BS, all he is trying to do is save America from these a$&jats that would have us be Londanstan and bring our manufacturing and jobs back, keep us safe….

President Trump, I have come to adore you and will stand with you.

They is a civil war coming, we have your back…

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Oh MY!

“James Comey Admits He Leaked Information To Media…

“Good grief is this man absorbed with his own need for attention.

Fired FBI Director James Comey admitted today that he was a direct source for leaking information to the media through a friend of his, a professor at Columbia University.

This behavior clearly indicates that James Comey was a political animal first and foremost, who politicized and weaponized the FBI to his own personal and institutional benefit….” Yeah, thanks a lot Clinton Cronie!!!!!!!

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/06/08/james-comey-admits-he-leaked-information-to-media/

I don’t understand how any Democrat can be cheering about this. Comey was running an “investigation” that never turned up one single piece of evidence and never even targeted Trump in the first place, and he repeatedly used the “independence”of the FBI as an excuse for his continued incompetence.

thalesofmiletus | June 8, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Nothingburger is nothing after all. /yawn

Sammy Finkelman | June 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm

What Comey is leaving out is that when Trump asked Comey to let Mike Flynn go, Comey did (or at least let it be known)

The Senate committee evidently didn’t discover the following CNN story, which seems to be borne out by events, or similar ones derivative of it:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/16/politics/fbi-not-expected-to-pursue-charges-against-flynn/index.html

Here’s how it appeared on the KTLA (Channel 5 in Los Angeles) website:

http://ktla.com/2017/02/16/fbi-not-expected-to-pursue-charges-against-michael-flynn-law-enforcement-officials/

FBI Not Expected to Pursue Charges Against Michael Flynn: Law Enforcement Officials

Posted 3:01 PM, February 16, 2017, by CNN Wire

The FBI is not expected to pursue any charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn regarding a phone call with Russia’s ambassador, barring new information that changes what they know, law enforcement officials told CNN Thursday…

This was two days after James Comey’s meeting with Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

But even earlier:

https://mobile.twitter.com/jimsciutto/status/832013379124486148?p=v

Jim Sciutto
@jimsciutto

Breaking: FBI NOT expected to pursue charges against #MichaelFlynn regarding phone calls w/Russian Ambassador, reports @evanperez

3:45 PM – 15 Feb 2017
_________________________________________

Jim Sciutto
@jimsciutto

Replying to @jimsciutto

More: FBI says Flynn was cooperative and provided truthful answers

3:47 PM – 15 Feb 2017

Things turned around on a dime: (or appeared to){

At 6:25 am February 15, Zero Hedge has this: (that’s Feb 15 in spite of the URL saying Feb 14)

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-14/mike-flynn-may-face-felony-charges-lying-fbi

But by 10 pm Zero Hedge reports:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-15/fbi-reportedly-will-not-pursue-charges-against-cooperative-and-truthful-mike-flynn

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