After much anticipation, former FBI Director James Comey appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. His testimony was in parts both revealing and tedious. And the posture of the senators questioning him was predictably biased. However, there was one observer who managed to totally miss the significance of the hearings. And you’ll never guess who.
Donald Trump was successfully distracted by his handlers who worked feverishly to keep him from tweeting during the hearings. It was the second longest absence from Twitter since he became predisent But that vacation couldn’t last forever, and Friday morning Trump was back online. Along with his standard free ad for Fox and Friends, Trump blurted out this self-serving comment:
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2017
As with many of Trump’s remarks, this one needs further examination. For one thing, it appears he’s claiming vindication by Comey’s “many false statements and lies.” If the statements were lies, how do they vindicate anything? But more to the point, vindication generally comes from someone agreeing with your account of events. Let’s take a look at some of what Comey said that Trump thinks vindicates him.
1) Comey said several times that Trump is a liar. He noted that he kept detailed memos of his meetings with Trump because he was “honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting.” Comey also testified that Trump lied about the reasons he was fired and his derogatory characterization of the FBI. Trump also was accused of lying about who initiated the contacts and requested meetings.
2) Comey unambiguously implicated Trump in obstruction of justice. He told the Committee that Trump asked him to ditch his investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. After clearing the room, Trump said he “hoped” Comey would “let this go,” which Comey took as a directive.
3) Comey decisively affirmed that Russia had interfered with the 2016 presidential election. He declared that “There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community.” And just to rub in how absurd Trump’s whining about fake news is, Comey added “That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.”
4) In the contest of credibility, Comey challenged Trump to release any recordings he might have. Trump had previously tweeted an implication that such tapes exist. Comey’s response: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” Then he prodded Trump to come clean.
5) And to top it off, Trump joins in the chorus of right-wing media salivating over Comey’s admission that he released some of his memos to the press through an associate. However, it isn’t leaking to publish your own account of events in which you took part. If it were, every Washington memoir would have to be considered a leak. There was nothing confidential or classified in the memos. Comey had every right to tell his side about what occurred since Trump had already done so.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
So this is what Trump regards as vindication? Being called out for lying, obstructing justice, smearing the press, and hiding secret recordings. Most people would consider that a harsh indictment. But in Trump’s world there are only pro-Trump rainbows and golden showers. [Of rain. Get your mind out of the gutter].