A bit of greater than per week after former FBI Director James Comey spent six hours testifying earlier than the Home Oversight and Judiciary committees, and after President Donald Trump went on a Twitter rampage accusing Comey of mendacity to Congress and suggesting his “thoughts exploded,” the Home Republicans requested Comey again for extra.
If that first session uncovered the delusional ranges to which congressional Republicans are prepared to sink with a view to shield the president, this second session might have proved how a lot they’ve purchased into their very own phony narratives.
After reviewing the 173-page transcript of Comey’s look Monday, listed here are a few of the most revealing exchanges:
1. At one level, in specializing in the method Comey adopted to have the FBI interview nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn, Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) requested Comey if he had “adopted the protocol with Presidents Bush and President Obama.” Comey responded, “I don’t keep in mind having event like this with both of these presidents.”
Republicans nonetheless received’t settle for the truth that what is occurring proper now with President Trump is unprecedented ― of their minds, for each accusation towards Trump, there should be an equal or better crime by a Democrat.
2. Trump would have the American individuals imagine that Flynn was tricked into mendacity to the FBI. Gowdy did his greatest to bolster this narrative along with his questioning, asking Comey head-on, “Why not advise Common Flynn of the implications of creating false statements to the FBI?”
Comey’s response: “Two causes, actually. First, the Deputy Director known as him, informed him what the subject material was, informed him he was welcome to have a consultant from White Home counsel there. So, he knew what he was going to be requested about. He was an awfully skilled individual and so fairly ought to be assumed to grasp you possibly can’t misinform the FBI. Second, it’s not protocol. The FBI doesn’t do this in noncustodial interviews. And, third, you need to discover out what the witness will say to you earlier than you warmth up an interview by elevating the prospect that the witness is perhaps mendacity to you.”
For anybody questioning why Comey couldn’t, as Trump requested him to, let the Flynn matter go, Comey clarified what was actually at stake: “Our focus was it appeared that the Nationwide Safety Advisor was mendacity to the Vice President about his communications with the Russians, and that made no sense to us, and we wished to grasp what is occurring right here.” It says lots that neither Trump nor congressional Republicans appear to care in any respect about discovering the reality.
three. Simply as they did in the course of the first day of testimony, Republicans spent lots of their time attempting to get Comey to reply hypothetical questions. A really aggravated Gowdy requested Comey instantly why he wouldn’t reply hypothetical questions. Comey’s response: “As a result of I’m not. It’s irresponsible to reply hypotheticals. I attempted to do lots of it final time. I’ll reply factual questions, however the what-ifs and what-abouts, I’m simply not going the reply these.”
I spent 5 years working on the Home Oversight Committee and, whereas studying this alternate, I believed to myself, “That is getting actually embarrassing for the GOP.”
four. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who’s poised to turn out to be the Oversight panel’s chairman in just a few weeks, requested Comey about one thing he tweeted the day earlier than. “Why do you imagine that President Trump was, quote, ‘mendacity concerning the lawful execution of a search warrant within the case of Michael Cohen’?”
Comey pointedly acknowledged that “I imagine he was mendacity as a result of he is aware of that the workplace was searched pursuant to a Federal choose’s issuance of a search warrant… and the notion that the President of the US, who has taken an oath to faithfully execute the legal guidelines of the US, goes to say that type of factor about his personal Division of Justice offended me…”
It’s nothing revelatory, but it surely raises the query of why Home Republicans determined to as soon as once more give Comey, a extremely credible witness, a platform to name the president a liar.
Cummings continued, permitting Comey to put out what’s actually at stake within the president’s criticisms of regulation enforcement: “What’s the hurt and the priority to nationwide safety when the President makes these sorts of statements, just like the tweets that I simply learn you?”
Comey’s response: “Tens of millions of individuals imagine what the President says… And that could be a state of affairs that places us in danger within the brief time period, that the FBI and the Justice Division won’t be trusted or believed. At a doorway attempting to recruit a supply, in a courtroom the place they are saying, “I discovered this within the left dresser drawer of this gang member,” and so they received’t be believed as a result of the President of the US has satisfied hundreds of thousands of those who they’re corrupt, when that’s a lie.”
This alternate is another reason why I feel Cummings goes to be a really efficient chairman.
5. Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), in the meantime, joined Gowdy in utilizing his time to amplify one of many president’s favourite conspiracy theories. “Did the FBI or any authorities company ever file President Trump or surreptitiously receive recordings or transcripts of recordings, whether or not audio or video, of President Trump?”
Comey’s simple response, “To not my information,” will certainly do nothing to maintain the president or his defenders from persevering with to forged Trump because the sufferer of a “deep state” plot.
6. Maybe essentially the most placing second of the listening to was when Cummings teed Comey up for a blistering critique of the president and the Republican Social gathering as an entire:
You most likely know this, however for many of my grownup life I thought of myself a Republican. And Republicans used to imagine, I feel, president’s phrases matter, that establishments matter, that the rule of regulation issues, and that the reality issues. … Disgrace on those that, as a result of they’re afraid of the bottom or their job or being tweeted about, don’t communicate up. I don’t know what they’re going to inform their grandchildren, as a result of that silence is complicity. That worries me deeply.
On Monday night time, White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted, “Republicans ought to stand as much as Comey and his great corruption.… The president did the nation a service by firing him and exposing him for the shameless fraud he’s.”
She would do nicely to recollect it was congressional Republicans who made the choice to have Comey testify, not as soon as however twice. And if anybody was uncovered as a shameless fraud within the course of, it absolutely wasn’t him.
Kurt Bardella is a HuffPost columnist and served as a spokesperson and senior adviser for the Home Oversight and Authorities Reform Committee from 2009 to 2013. Observe him on Twitter at @kurtbardella.