Friday, June 9, 2017

By firing Comey to derail Russia probe, President Trump started to dig own grave

After fired FBI Director James Comey testified before a Senate intelligence panel on Thursday that President Trump is a liar who couldn't be trusted, @realDonaldTrump tweeted, "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication..." (Credit: "Watch the Birdie" is from Steve Sack of the Minneapolis Star Tribune).

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

UPDATE: This afternoon, President Trump denied he asked James Comey for his loyalty before he fired him as FBI director or directed him to drop the Michael Flynn probe, and offered to testify under oath. No reporter at the news conference countered, "Who would believe you?"

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Fired FBI Director James Comey's "calm and deliberate" testimony "was the most damning by a law enforcement official against a president in decades."

So began a New York Times Breaking News Alert sent out on Thursday night after Comey testified he believed President Trump was directing him to drop an investigation into a key aide's contacts with Russian officials.

Here is more:

"Upset about the investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election, President Trump sought relief from James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director. By Mr. Comey’s account, Mr. Trump asked him to help 'lift the cloud.'
"But thanks to Mr. Trump’s own actions, the cloud darkened considerably on Thursday and now seems likely to hover over his presidency for months, if not years, to come.
"Rather than relieve the pressure, Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Comey has generated an even bigger political and legal threat. In his anger at Mr. Comey for refusing to publicly disclose that the president was not personally under investigation, legal experts said, Mr. Trump may have actually made himself the target of an investigation."

Trump as liar

In his blunt testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey said of Trump, "I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting ...," and at another point, referred to the president's propensity to lie as "the nature of the person."

He also said, "Those were lies, plain and simple," referring to White House explanations for his firing.

Comey testified he leaked memos he wrote after conversations with Trump to a reporter.

He hoped that would lead the Justice Department to name a special counsel, "who he believed would look into the possibility of obstruction," The Times reported on Thursday.

"It was the first public suggestion that prosecutors would investigate the president," The Times said.

Other coverage

Most of the other news media, including The Record of Woodland Park, politicized the question of obstruction of justice by asking Republicans like Governor Christie and Democrats for their take on the testimony.

Predictably, their opinions were completely partisan. 

"Christie says Trump is OK, based on testimony," according to a blurb on The Record's front page today, referring readers to a story on Page 10A.

Columnist Mike Kelly was sent once again to Allendale, where Comey grew up, to interview residents at the Allendale Bar and Grill about the wealthy town's "favorite son."

Kelly also interviewed Comey's father, J. Brian Comey, 86, a Republican and former Allendale councilman.

"The elder Comey feels angry and betrayed by a president who fired his 56-year-old son from the top post at the FBI and then called him 'crazy' and a 'real nut job,'" Kelly reports today (1A and 11A).

"Trump is a liar," the elder Comey said, echoing his son.

Trump tweet

Trump's tweet claiming "vindication" also said, "and WOW, Comey is a leaker!"

The Liar-In-Chief was referring to Comey's testimony he gave his memos to a friend, who leaked them to a reporter. 

That led to the appointment of a former FBI director, Robert Mueller, as special counsel in the investigation of Russian meddling in the election.  

Bravo! 

Comey has a long line of distinguished predecessors, including the FBI agent who was the Washington Post's "Deep Throat" in the Watergate scandal, which led to the resignation of President Nixon.

And let's not forget Daniel Ellsberg, a former U.S. military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.