During the June 8th hearing, Comey did all but directly give the committee an impeachable offense by President Donald Trump. Several times, it seemed as if Comey would say that President Trump was trying to obstruct the investigation, but he held back. Although Comey couldn’t divulge all the things the public would’ve liked to hear, due to confidential information and national security, he left it all out on the field as best he could.
The closest Comey came to testifying that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense, is when he said, “It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired, in some way, to change – or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.” Although he was capable of giving President Trump a fatal blow, in a display of class, Comey continued to restrain himself on legal grounds by choosing his words wisely. As the former FBI Director, Comey understands the need to let the investigative process unfold.
On many occasions, Comey called Trump a liar and even said regarding one of his conversations with Trump “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” There are two notable moments where Comey regarded Trump as a liar. In the first, Comey said “The administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.” Here, Comey was referring to the statement President Trump made to make the public lose trust in the FBI.
The second was regarding the memos Comey wrote in which he described conversations with President Trump. Comey said in the hearing, “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document them.”
The big takeaway from the hearing is that Comey’s testimony did not settle whether Trump committed obstruction of justice. Although this may seem useless or a waste of time, it must be understood that if there was no apparent obstruction of justice, this hearing would have cleared that up. Unfortunately for President Trump, that was not the case. One of the biggest reasons this was such a huge event was that the only way the cloud would be removed from Trump is if Comey settled the matter of obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense.
The spin made by the side on defense is always intriguing to watch. Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, gave the impression that the hearing went Trump’s way. Trump’s lawyer stated after the hearing that Comey confirmed that President Trump was not the subject of the investigation.
The problem with this statement is that it only works for those who did not watch the hearing. It is true that Comey said Trump was not the subject of the investigation, but the investigation is about Trump administration officials’ possible collusion with the Russians, and President Trump is an official in the Trump administration. Just because Trump is not the subject of the investigation in no way means he is not a part of the investigation. This is where the use of words can help the Trump administration make something that wasn’t a win sound like a win.
An interesting aspect of the hearing’s conclusion is that neither the Trump administration or the Democrats lost, but the Trump administration seems to be taking it as a win because no impeachable offense was directly stated. President Trump is by no means in the clear, but he stands to govern another day. Although Trump has weathered this storm, it’s difficult to say he can survive another one like the Comey testimony. One of the most important things Comey noted was that the Russian interference is not a Democrat or Republican issue but an American issue.
-Photo by Alex Brandon