For those who hoped that former FBI Director James Comey was going to provide some bombshell evidence — or any evidence at all — that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election, Thursday’s Senate testimony had to be a major letdown. Of course, that was a foolish hope in the first place, since even if such evidence existed, Comey was never going to divulge it in an open Senate hearing.
For Trump’s most ardent supporters, Comey’s testimony exonerated the president. Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, responded to Comey’s written testimony: “The president feels completely and totally vindicated.” And in a sense he should.
Comey confirmed what Trump had said when he fired the FBI director last month: Comey had told the president on three different occasions that he wasn’t the target of a criminal investigation. What drove Trump nuts was that Comey wouldn’t say that publicly. Now he has.
But there’s a problem. After the hearing, Kasowitz denied all the damning parts of Comey’s testimony. The president never told Comey “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Kasowitz insisted, and Trump never asked Comey to drop any investigation into Flynn. In short: Comey’s a liar and Trump isn’t.
Given the pains to which Comey went to write down his version of the meeting with Trump, not to mention Comey’s immediate conversations with colleagues and the utter plausibility of his account, Trump’s denials seem thoroughly unconvincing to me. But more to the point, if Comey were inclined to lie, he would have — and certainly could have — invented a far, far more damning story. If your defense is that Comey is a liar, you can’t cherry-pick the helpful bits and shout, “Vindication!” (Read more from “Comey Testimony Confirms Trump Is Still His Own Worst Enemy” HERE)