We didn’t learn anything new from former FBI director James Comey’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, but we heard directly from the source, who was fired by President Trump, many believe because he did not agree to derail an investigation into Russian ties to those around the president, including disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Below are the Top 5 Takeaways:
1. Former FBI director James Comey testified that he orchestrated a leak.
Comey admitted that he let a friend at Columbia University have his accounts of conversations with President Donald Trump because he thought it might lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Russia investigation. Law professor Daniel Richman gave that information to the New York Times. “My judgment was that I needed to get that out into the public square,” he said. He added he took the step “because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
2. Comey hedged when asked directly if Trump worked with the Russians.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked Comey directly whether he believed that Trump had colluded with the Russians. His answer? “It is a question I don’t think I should answer in an open setting,” Comey said, adding that the question would be answered by special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation.
3. Comey said the Trump administration ‘lies, plain and simple.’
Comey testified that the Trump administration “chose to defame me,” told “lies, plain and simple” and that he was “confused” by Trump saying he was fired due to the Russia probe. “The administration chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying the organization was in disarray … those were lies,” Comey said. He also told the committee that the “shifting explanations” from the White House for why Trump fired him last month “confused” and increasingly concerned him. Comey also took exception to White House claims that the FBI was in disarray and that it was poorly led and had lost confidence in his leadership.”Those were lies, plain and simple, and I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them, and I am so sorry that the American people were told them,” Comey said. He also said he decided to create a written record of their meetings. “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting,” Comey said.
4. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) made it plain that the president was directing Comey to drop the Michael Flynn investigation.
Everyone knows that when the big boss of any company, country or corporation says he “hopes” that something happens, it is what he or she wants to see happen. When a senator parsed the president’s words (Comey said Trump said he “hopes” that the Flynn investigation will go away), he inferred that the president never “directed” Comey to stop the probe. Sen. Harris said, “In my experience of prosecuting cases, when a robber held a gun to somebody’s head and said ‘I hope you will give me your wallet,’ the word hope was not the most operative word.”
5. Comey used some funny wordage during his testimony.
Referring to President Trump’s suggestion in May that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’” of their conversations, Comey said Thursday, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes” – which shows how confident he is about telling the truth. In terms of no fuzz, Comey said that he knew that one day he might need a written record of their conversations to defend himself and the FBI. He also said, “There is no fuzz on Russian’s interfering in the 2016 election… It is as unfake as you can get.” #NoFuzz