Say What? Senators' Questions for Comey, a Roll Call Analysis

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Comey remarked at one point Thursday, suggesting such evidence would back up his account over any claims from the president.

In a startling disclosure, Comey revealed that after his firing he actually tried to spur the special counsel's appointment by giving a damning memo he had written about a meeting with Trump to a friend to release to the media.

A central - and unresolved - question from the hearing revolves around whether President Donald Trump was trying to derail the Russian Federation investigation by pressuring, and ultimately firing, the man in charge.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked Comey the key question: "Do you believe this arises to obstruction of justice?"

Dressed in a dark suit and giving short, deliberative answers, Comey painted a picture of an overbearing president who he did not trust and who pressured him to stop the FBI investigating Flynn. Comey also said in his written testimony that Trump, in a unusual private encounter near the grandfather clock in the Oval Office, pushed him to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

"The attorney general directed me not to call it an investigation and call it a matter - which confused me", Comey said, adding that he felt he "needed to step away from the department" in order to protect the FBI. He claimed to be puzzled by the administration, saying that he was sacked because he wasn't doing a good job, but that Trump had told him the opposite many times. "I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not only to defend myself but to protect the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

"That's a great question", Comey said.

Comey added an element of intrigue to the hearings when he said he knew of a "variety of reasons" why Attorney General Jeff Sessions' involvement in the Russian Federation investigation would be problematic but that he couldn't discuss those reasons "in an open setting".

The market's concern on the issue is whether the Trump administration can put the investigation behind it and revive momentum for their agenda of lower taxes and looser regulations.

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Comey said that after the tarmac meeting he considered whether a special counsel should be appointed, and decided not. Only three Republicans asked about the president's loyalty request, while twice as many Democrats did. Instead, Kasowitz pushed back and the president remained conspicuously silent on Twitter during the hearing despite expectations he might respond.

The disclosures that followed Comey's firing have raised questions about why Comey, known in government for an independent streak and a willingness to buck protocol, did not speak out publicly while on the job, or at least make his objections directly known to the president. Bondy said "That there are two sides to this coin, and that for an obstruction of justice case to be proven, you have to really be able to demonstrate not just your subjective belief, but rather that is what the actor or defendant meant to do".

"You may have taken it as a direction, but that's not what he said", said Sen. "President, this is wrong, '?"

Even before former FBI Director James Comey's explosive congressional testimony on Thursday, politicians and experts on both sides of the aisle were floating the idea of impeachment. "Maybe if I were stronger I would have". Comey delivered his answer clearly.

He'd had moments of discomfort during the Obama administration as well. "We know how to fight and we will never give up", the president added.

Tables were turned on Democrats just weeks before the USA election, however, when Comey, again acting on his own, briefly reopened the probe - a decision Clinton believes cost her the vote.

"There should be no fuzz on this". "That happened. It's about as unfake as you can possibly get".

Trump has begrudgingly accepted that assessment.

Other reports by GizPress

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