Thursday, June 8, 2017

Parsing Again

During James Comey's testimony, Senator Collins tried to drill down to whether tRump were under FBI investigation for any criminal conduct, aside from the Trump campaign - Russian interference issue, and the following exchange took place:
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Comey, let me begin by thanking you for your voluntary compliance with our request to appear before this committee and assist us in this very important investigation. I want first to ask you about your conversations with the president, three conversations in which you told him that he was not under investigation. The first was during your January 6th meeting, according to your testimony, in which it appears that you actually volunteered that assurance. Is that correct?

COMEY: That's correct.

COLLINS: Did you limit that statement to counterintelligence invest — investigations, or were you talking about any FBI investigation?

COMEY: I didn't use the term counterintelligence. 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.

COLLINS: Then — and that's why you volunteered the information?

COMEY: Yes, ma'am.

COLLINS: Then on the January 27th dinner, you told the president that he should be careful about asking you to investigate because, “you might create a narrative that we are investigating him personally, which we weren't.” Again, were you limiting that statement to counterintelligence investigations, or more broadly, such as a criminal investigation?

COMEY: I didn't modify the word investigation. It was, again, he was reacting strongly against the unverified material, saying I'm tempted to order you to investigate it. In the context of that, I said, sir, be careful about it. I might create a narrative we're investigating you personally.

COLLINS: There was the March 30th phone call with the president in which you reminded him that congressional leaders had been briefed that we were no personally — the FBI was not personally investigating president trump. And, again, was that statement to congressional leaders and to the president limited to counterintelligence investigations, or was it a broader statement? I'm trying to understand whether there was any kind of investigation of the president underway.

COMEY: No. I'm sorry. If I misunderstood, I apologize. We briefed the congressional leadership about what Americans we had opened counterintelligence investigation cases on. We specifically said, the president is not one of those Americans. But there was no other investigation of the president that we were not mentioning at that time. The context was, counterintelligence, but I wasn't trying to hide some criminal investigation of the president.

COLLINS: And was the president under investigation at the time of your dismissal on May 9th?


Comey seems to be direct and certain there was no criminal investigation of tRump going on even up until the time he was fired.

I'm not letting that punch a hole in my theory that he will eventually be brought up on some criminal charges. Maybe I'm being obtuse, but Senator Burr made it a point to get into the record that bit about the possibility of uncovering other charges during the course of the collusion investigation, and Comey is always very careful about how he words things. So, he speaks here about specifically discussing the counterintelligence investigations - and says tRump wasn't targeted. I'm not sure "I wasn't trying to hide some criminal investigation of the president" is the same thing as saying there wasn't any criminal investigation, and when Collins asks that last follow-up question, she doesn't specifically say "criminal" or "other than counterintelligence", so he's able to answer "No."

And the part about him stressing again that they weren't investigating tRump personally, he qualifies by saying it was in relation to the "salacious" allegations tRump was so afraid of.

I'll admit I was wrong when it is finally all over - which could be a while - and no racketeering or money laundering charges are levied.

No comments: