Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comey's Testimony Re Telling Trump He Was Not Being Investigated, and McCain's Bizarre Questioning

Recall Trump's firing letter of James Comey where it seemed the most important thing he wished to convey was that Comey told him three times that he wasn't under investigation. Comey's testimony today made it clear that tRump was freaking out about the possibility.

This is from Comey's written testimony where tRump's concern seems to be the "pee tape" rather than any Russian collusion to influence the election:
When the FBI develops reason to believe an American has been targeted for recruitment by a foreign power or is covertly acting as an agent of the foreign power, the FBI will “open an investigation” on that American and use legal authorities to try to learn more about the nature of any relationship with the foreign power so it can be disrupted.

In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.


During [a subsequent meeting], the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.

And this is from his oral testimony today:
"I was briefing him about salacious and unverified material. It was in a context of that that he had a strong and defensive reaction about that not being true. My reading of it was it was important for me to assure him we were not person investigating him. So the context then was actually narrower, focused on what I just talked to him about. It was very important because it was, first, true, and second, I was worried very much about being in kind of a J. Hoover-type situation. I didn't want him thinking I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way. I was briefing him on it because, because we had been told by the media it was about to launch. We didn't want to be keeping that from him. He needed to know this was being said. I was very keen not to leave him with an impression that the bureau was trying to do something to him. So that's the context in which I said, sir, we're not personally investigating you."

In another meeting where tRump asks everyone present to leave except Comey so he could pressure him about Flynn, Comey's oral testimony indicated that he thought Sessions hung back, being Comey's boss, and knowing protocol dictated he should be there. Here's Comey's written testimony on that meeting:
The President signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. I stayed in my chair. As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my chair, but the President thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me. The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me. The President then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me.
That sounds less like Sessions wanting to stick to protocol (perhaps protecting Comey) than it does a couple of leg-breakers hovering when the drug or mafia boss calls someone to his office.

In a phone call to Comey, tRump again wanted the FBI to state publicly that he was not under investigation. (Comey says they didn't want to do that in case something came up later for which they had to make a correction - which is what got him in hot water on the Clinton email case.)
The President went on to say that if there were some “satellite” associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him.
But when that didn't happen, tRump himself found a way to get it out: fire Comey and put in the firing letter that Comey assured him three times he wasn't being investigated. Who knows? Maybe that's the real reason tRump fired him.

Two weeks later, tRump called Comey again.
On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I “get out” that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that “the cloud” was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General.


He said he would do that and added, “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.” I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.
And "that thing" is something people are talking about. And the only other issue, aside from wanting to revisit the Hillary Clinton email case, that John McCain was concerned about in Comey's oral testimony. He didn't like any of Comey's answers to his bizarre and addled questions, and didn't want to hear that Comey himself didn't know what "that thing" was.

When tRump gets back to tweeting, he's going to be quoting McCain, whining about Hillary again.

Check out this video of  McCain's rambling, addled questioning.

"At least in the minds of this member, there are a whole lot of questions remaining..."  Grandpa doesn't even seem to have ONE mind, let alone a plurality of them.

At the end he asks the same question twice in a row, reading it from his paper, while distractingly tapping his pen on the microphone, clearly revealing that he didn't know he'd just asked that question and gotten an answer that didn't suit him.  As soon as Comey gave the same answer, the chair of the committee immediately said, "The Senator's time has expired."  McCain looks surprised.  Comey looks relieved.  WTF have I just been dealing with??

Seriously, McCain needs to retire before he hurts himself or someone else.  It won't be long before he doesn't know where or who he is.

UPDATE 7/17:  It seems there WAS a problem likely causing McCain's bizarre performance.   

No comments: