Thursday: Live Blog–James Comey Testimony


Good Morning!

James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee will begin soon. This day is likely to go down in history as the beginning of the end of the treasonous Trump administration. Please join us in documenting the hearing and our reactions in real time. Here is Comey’s opening statement, for reference.

Some relevant reads

Philip Allen Lacovara at The Washington Post: I helped prosecute Watergate. Comey’s statement is sufficient evidence for an obstruction of justice case.

Philip Allen Lacovara, a former U.S. deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department, served as counsel to Watergate special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski.

In prepared testimony released on the eve of his appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI director James B. Comey placed President Trump in the gunsights of a federal criminal investigation, laying out evidence sufficient for a case of obstruction of justice.

Comey proved what Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers carefully avoided admitting in their testimony on Wednesday — that the president had specifically attempted to shut off at least a major piece of what Trump calls the “Russia thing,” the investigation into the misleading statements by fired national security adviser Michael Flynn concerning his role in dealings with the Russians. This kind of presidential intervention in a pending criminal investigation has not been seen, to my knowledge, since the days of Richard Nixon and Watergate.

Comey’s statement meticulously detailed a series of interventions by Trump soliciting his assistance in getting the criminal probe dropped. These details are red meat for a prosecutor. Presumably, the team of experienced criminal prosecutors that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has assembled will be following up on this crucial testimony, which rests on contemporaneous memorandums that Comey was sufficiently alarmed to prepare immediately after receiving the president’s requests.

That both Coats and Rogers denied that they “felt pressured” provides no comfort for the president’s position. The obstruction of justice statute prohibits not only successful interference with pending criminal investigations but also any use of “threats” to “endeavor” to obstruct an investigation. Thus, it is the attempt or objective that is criminal, and Coats and Rogers were apparently unable to deny that the president had solicited their interference in the pending FBI investigation. If Coats and Rogers did not yield to the endeavor, kudos for them, but that is no excuse for the president.

Moreover, Comey’s testimony also supplies the element of “threats.” He vividly describes a dinner with the president on Jan. 27, which the president surprisingly limited to just the two of them. The president asked Comey whether he liked his job and wanted to continue in it, even though, before the inauguration, the president had asked Comey to stay on the job, and Comey had eagerly accepted.

Leaving little doubt about the price of continued retention, the president twice, according to Comey, told him that he expected “loyalty” from Comey, just as he did from everyone else around him.

Head over to the WaPo to read the rest.

The New York Times: ‘Must-See TV’: Free Drinks and Canceled Meetings for Comey’s Testimony.

The schedule has been cleared and the popcorn readied at Evergreen Partners, a strategic communications firm in central New Jersey, where the rule for employees on Thursday morning is simple: No client talk while James B. Comey is speaking.

“We canceled meetings when we saw what time it was on,” said the firm’s president, Karen J. Kessler, who is planning a cheese-and-crackers spread by her office’s 60-inch screen. “It’s must-see TV.”

Americans do not agree on much these days. But millions are expected to pause on Thursday to take in a spectacle already being compared to other political-cultural touchstones, like the Army-McCarthy hearings and Anita Hill’s testimony about Clarence Thomas. This time, Mr. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, will dish to the Senate Intelligence Committee about President Trump, the man who fired him.

By the time details from Mr. Comey’s prepared remarks surfaced on Wednesday — revealing an anxious president pressing his F.B.I. director about a continuing investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russia — the hearing had leapt from Beltway curiosity to required viewing, a cliffhanger episode of the nation’s real-life reality show.

C-Span, this is not. (Although C-Span will be covering it.) Every national broadcast network — along with an alphabet soup of cable stations from CNBC to HLN — plans to carry the 10 a.m. hearing live. Bars in Houston, San Francisco and Washington are opening early. Schoolteachers are remaking lesson plans to discuss the testimony instead.

Adding to the anticipation: Mr. Trump is expected to be among the viewers, and there is speculation that he may respond to Mr. Comey on Twitter in real-time — “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in the West Wing.

“They really should declare a national holiday,” said Sally Quinn, the journalist and the doyenne of Washington’s social circuit, “since no work is going to get done.”

But this is serious business, and here are a couple of links to serious discussions of Comey’s statement.

Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare: Initial Comments on James Comey’s Written Testimony.

Jack Goldsmith at Lawfare: Two Reflections on the Comey Statement.

I’m planning to watch the entire hearing and re-read the recent posts about it on the company website of North Shore Advisory Inc.. The cable networks have already begun their coverage. Even the broadcast networks are cancelling programming to show the Comey testimony, which begins at 10AM. Will Republicans continue to support Trump after this? Probably. But how much longer can they last before they accept the inevitable?

Please post your thoughts and any recommended links in the comment thread. And away we go!

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120 Comments on “Thursday: Live Blog–James Comey Testimony”

  1. bostonboomer says:

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  2. bostonboomer says:

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    • Enheduanna says:

      tRump has always struck me as a thug. You don’t grow up in the NYC real estate world and avoid that world. He associates with known thugs – Trump Tower was/is full of them.

    • Fannie says:

      Yep, I’ve said he’s another “Al Capone”. I watched through Kamala Harris. Cancel a doctor’s appointment, and had to leave and go pick up a newly purchased tree, otherwise it would cost me to have them deliver, and the landscaper was ready to put it in the ground.

      I couldn’t believe how they were more concerned about Hillary Clinton, once again they had nothing.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Maxine Waters and Preet Bahara have reserved seats in the audience for the hearing.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    David Corn at Mother Jones:

    Comey Forces Trump Defenders Into Extreme and Absurd Spin.

    The release of former FBI director Jim Comey’s prepared text for his upcoming congressional testimony has created a moment of crisis for Republicans and conservatives. And many are failing the challenge. Their reactions are revealing a profound dishonesty that far exceeds the norms of usual political spin, and are demonstrating that the Trumpified quarters of the GOP and the conservative movement are intellectually bankrupt and devoid of principle. These partisans now stand naked, and it sure ain’t pretty. It’s also a bad sign for the health of our constitutional democracy.

    • bostonboomer says:

      In any world not governed by the need to defend Trump at all costs, the Comey statement would be devastating in the eyes of all. Comey’s tale calls into question the president’s understanding and allegiance to the rule of law. It casts Trump as a liar and a scoundrel who engaged in action that might even be illegal. Republicans and Trump defenders cannot accept the true meanings of this text. To do so would be to acknowledge too much. They have to distort reality and embrace dishonesty to deny the statement’s significance and its newsworthiness, to dismiss it as nothing, or to cherry-pick the few lines that partially support Trump’s previous assertions. Consequently, they have to bare their worst to protect their president. Trump has forced them into an ugly act of self-abuse that cheapens them and abets a dangerous erosion of constitutional democracy.

    • dakinikat says:

      The Hillary email reopener was low … I think I’ll scream if I hear one more question on that Lynch Big Dawg meet up. This is definitely partisan. Repubs seem to be asking Comey not to believe his lying eyes and ears.

      • Fannie says:

        I notice the term “matter” popped up time after time. I had thought she recused herself……..

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    I hate to say this but I seriously doubt much will come from this hearing. It is up to the GOP leadership to prevail and I see nothing in their actions so far to indicate otherwise. They are “united” in this effort and the Dems are helpless in moving forward.

    This is merely a “show” and unless I am proven wrong we are stuck with Trump for the next 4 years.

    Sorry to be such a “Debbie Downer” but hearing they Repubs are going to bring in Hillary Clinton to the hearing as a diversion underscores my gut feeling.

    • bostonboomer says:

      We’ll see. There were Republicans who asked tough questions yesterday–even Marco Rubio did. I think it’s going to take the Repubs awhile to face reality, but Trump’s obstruction has been so blatant that they aren’t going to be able to deny it for much longer. Plus, Trump will continue to damage himself with his clumsy, blundering behavior.

      • Enheduanna says:

        The polls keep sinking – he’s at 34% approval now. They will have to abandon him at some point surely.

    • dakinikat says:

  6. RonStill4Hills says:

    I don’t trust Comey one bit. Total snake. I will not be surprised if he totally protects The CPOTUS (Circus Peanut of the United States) and his three ring administration. I think he still has ambitions in the Republican Party. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the day, Don Hairleone has been strengthened.

  7. bostonboomer says:

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  8. bostonboomer says:

    Comey has arrived and been seated.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Eric Schneiderman has indicted the “taxi king” in NYC. He is a close associate of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.

    https://therealdeal.com/2017/06/07/taxi-king-arrested-for-allegedly-failing-to-pay-5m-in-taxes/

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Comey taking the oath.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Comey declines to read his statement, which was released yesterday. He will just make some introductory remarks.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    He talks about his reactions to Trump’s excuses for firing him. He call them “lies, plain and simple.” He says the FBI and the investigation will continue without him. He apologizes to his colleagues for not being able to say goodbye to them. He will always be proud of his service to the FBI.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Chairman Burr asks if Comey has any doubts that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. Comey says Trump never directly told him to drop the investigation. He says it’s not up to him to assess whether Trump’s request to “let go” of the Flynn investigation was obstruction. He says he was very disturbed by it.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Comey can’t answer question about the Steel dossier, because it is part of the investigation.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Ok. But I just can’t stand Comey, they knew this was going on since 2015? And he fucked Hillary over?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Do you want Trump to be taken out? I do.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          I do BB. I just think this testimony is going wrong. Comey is giving all these excuses for not giving answers here. Yet he was so quick to release all the crap against Hillary (and it was bullshit) just days before the election. It is like he is selective in what he considers classified? I don’t know. Take that exchange with the asshole with Idaho. But I will say Diane is doing a great job.

        • Fannie says:

          Him and the whole damn klandom.

  15. Minkoff Minx says:

    Ugh. Why is Comey even testifying in public.

  16. bostonboomer says:

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  17. bostonboomer says:

    Maybe the live blog was a bad idea. If so, sorry. I’m completely focused on getting rid of Trump and I don’t care how it happens. This country can’t survive much more of Trump’s shit.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Not a bad idea at all. Comey is a self righteous pr*ick but it does not mean he is lying.

      He had a large part in Hillary’s loss but I don’t believe he is lying about Trump.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’m with you BB.

      I’m actually more disturbed by the GOPer house and senate than I am with tRump. tRump is an idiot – a man-child who lucked into everything he ever had in life. He wouldn’t know treason or obstruction if it hit him. GOPers in the house and senate on the other hand – know full well what he has done. 2018 can’t come soon enough.

    • janicen says:

      No, it’s great. I’m just glued to the TV.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Nah. Live blog is great. I hope Comey lets go and gives up more.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I am so glad you did this. I am at work and cannot otherwise follow along. Thanks.

    • Fannie says:

      Never a bad idea. I am tired of the friggin nightmares.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    Comey is making it very clear that he actually interpreted Trump’s actions as obstruction of justice, even though he won’t say it right out.

    • dakinikat says:

      And the Repubs keep asking him if he really believes his lying eyes…

      • Fannie says:

        And how about “I hope”…………..Idaho Tator brought it up time and time. So if I hurt myself at work, the boss is suppose to come out and say “I hope you don’t do that again”?

  19. janicen says:

    By the way, Trump’s idiot son, Donny Jr. is tweeting. I’m sure Trump’s lawyers are thrilled.

  20. Enheduanna says:

    Ugh – Rubio’s trying to make tRump look positively angelic.

  21. roofingbird says:

    Pence knew about Flynn.

  22. Enheduanna says:

    So tRump never once expressed concern to Comey about the Ruskies hacking the election, except possibly at that first January meeting – the one where Comey had to privately brief tRump on the pee-pee tape.

    Trump’s entire concern about this has solely been how it impacts on him alone. Natch.

  23. janicen says:

    Comey said he leaked dox to the press through a friend in the hope it would lead to the appointment of a special counsel.

  24. bostonboomer says:

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  25. Enheduanna says:

    Manchin asking hypothetical question about Hillary firing Comey if elected – WTF – I hate that guy (Manchin).

  26. dakinikat says:

    John Cornyn is carrying water for Trump … But her emails!!!

  27. Enheduanna says:

    Oh FFS – McCain – ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    HILLLERYGHAZEEEMAILES!!!!

    • Enheduanna says:

      Time expired – thank GAWD

    • ANonOMouse says:

      McCain got the email investigation and the Russian investigation mixed up in his mind he somehow conflated the two and made them one.

    • dakinikat says:

      His advanced age is showing. I didn’t really understand what he was getting at and I don’t think Comey did either.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Yep…..He was totally confused mentally. He even looked confused and lost while he was talking. He kept calling Trump, Mr. Comey and confusing the Russian Investigation with the Email investigation. I felt badly for him

      • Fannie says:

        I had to go back and watch, and looked close to see if he had a stroke. He was rubbing his hands.

      • palhart says:

        McCain needs to retire. After he got in a twist about why Hillary’s FBI case was closed and only Trump being open to continued investigation and scrutiny, I questioned whether he understood intent. The republicans can’t let Hillary go.

  28. bostonboomer says:

    Wow. McCain sounds like he’s either on drugs or has severe dementia. He even keeps calling Trump “Mr. Comey.”

    • ANonOMouse says:

      He’s fucked up. Very confused.

    • roofingbird says:

      The problem here is he is half right about the emails, even though he is conflating investigations. No one is talking about what happened to her campaign.

    • janicen says:

      It’s a shame, because I think McCain was trying to do Hillary a favor. I wanted someone to ask Comey,

      A. when the FBI investigates a public figure and concludes that there was no crime committed by that public figure, does the FBI always make a public announcement at the conclusion of the investigation? Answer of course will be no.

      B. Then why did you not consider that making that public announcement about the Clinton investigation that you might have to “correct” yourself publicly, in the middle of a presidential campaign and therefore potentially influence an election, as you did with President Trump? You warned Trump that a public announcement might backfire on him but you did not give Clinton that same courtesy.

      That’s where I think McCain was going but he confused himself and was all over the map.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Maybe you’re right. I thought he was implying that Hillary might have been cooperating with Russia too. He kept saying that he thought the Russia investigation was looking at the entire campaign, including Clinton’s.

        • janicen says:

          Yes. Maybe I was reading into it what I hoped someone would ask Comey. I thought maybe McCain was looking out for his buddy, Clinton, but it’s more likely he was looking out for Trump.

  29. roofingbird says:

    Wow, did you hear McCain?

  30. ANonOMouse says:

    John McCain is so fucking confused

    • Enheduanna says:

      Yeah he’s 81 years old in August, and if I sound ageist well maybe I am. I’m 62 in August. There’s a world of difference between 70 and 80. These coots who refuse to retire or acknowledge their limits piss me off.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I’m in my 70’s and there’s a huge difference in your physical abilities between 60 and 70 and things just go downhill from there. I don’t think I’ve lost much of my edge mentally, but physically I will concede that I’ve totally lost my edge. I felt bad for McCain because I think we just saw an episode of dementia. Still I don’t think that being 81 necessarily means you’re not sharp mentally. Dianne Feinstein is 83 and sharp as a tack. My grandmother lived to be 99 and she never lost her mental edge. All folks are different. I do think however that we need an upper age limit on running for POTUS. I think Biden, Sanders and even Hillary are too old to run again in 2020. The presidency is brutal on the office holder and we need to field younger candidates to run for POTUS.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I agree. I will be 70 in Jan. And John McCain should retire. He’s 80.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            If what we and the rest of America just witnessed is any example, he needs to retire right now. It was obvious he was in a mental meltdown and as much sympathy as I may feel for his condition, he has no business being in the U.S. Senate.

        • Enheduanna says:

          My mother is 86 and still sharp. She forgets some things but no more than anyone else. I also think she doesn’t care to remember things – she’s very self-focused and has been her whole life.

          I agree depends on the person and it’s arguable to say 80 is a limit. For Feinstein and Ruth Bader Ginsberg I’d say more power to them. Some of these congresscritters, though – are 75 going on 120.

      • dakinikat says:

        I’m going to be 62 in November. I can feel the changes in me. I don’t think as fast. Words and memories aren’t as accessible. I don’t remember new things as easily and my body has aches that are mild to awful on some days. I’m not senile or unable to function but I get tired and don’t have the depth of strength to avoid sleep after awhile. I’m slowing down and it’s noticeable.

        • Enheduanna says:

          The last time I got in a pool I was shocked how out of shape I was. I developed “frozen shoulder” about two years ago – which I suspect was caused by taking statins for cholesterol. I immediately discontinued those and it helped but still have decreased range of motion and some pain. I think we women suffer a lot from arthritis in particular.

    • dakinikat says:

      Definitely, his age is showing.

  31. NW Luna says:

    Makes me think most of the Rs are on Putin’s payroll.

    Argh. Rest of today I’m at work and can’t comment.

  32. bostonboomer says:

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  33. NW Luna says:

  34. A conservative senator (sorry I didn’t record his name) seemed to suggest that Comey should have turned over his conversation memos to DOJ instead of holding them and indirectly giving them to the media: a question of leaking govt information vs personal information? Interesting argument but I don’t buy it.
    McCain tried to conflate the closed investigation of Hillary’s emails—from when she was Secretary of State!—with ongoing investigation of Candidate Clinton in relation to the Russian hacking investigation. Nice try, but again, I don’t buy it. Overall, the testimony only clarified that Comey Was fired because of his investigation into Russian intrusion in our elections. Many more questions relmain.

    • dakinikat says:

      How on earth could you possibly conflate and administrative error with collaboration with a hostile foreign power? WTF is wrong with these Republicans?

    • Enheduanna says:

      I thought Comey did share some of his memos with colleagues, or perhaps discussed the meetings with them.

      The other meme – why didn’t you tell tRump his requests were out of line? Pfffft. Why did tRump run for a position for which he was dangerously unqualified?

  35. bostonboomer says:

    CNN talking to John Dean. MSNBC interviewing Greta V. Ugh.

  36. bostonboomer says:

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  37. bostonboomer says:

    Right now Sessions and Rosenstein are both implicated in the Russia investigation, according to Comey. Shouldn’t something be done about that? Who’s in charge at Justice???

    • dakinikat says:

      looks like Mueller has his job cut out for him … I’m sure justice is going to go after Loretta Lynch and the big dawg for having coffee in a plane

  38. janicen says:

    On MSNBC Nicole Wallace just referred to Donny Jr’s tweets.

    Wallace: For a guy who kills baby elephants for kicks to be giving James Comey a lesson in character…

    LOL!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’ve grown to like Nicole W. even tho she worked for GW Bush.

      • dakinikat says:

        Yeah. She has a degree of integrity and definitely knows insider politics. I may not agree with her opinions but at least she can elucidate them and provide some kind’ve reasoned argument.

        • dakinikat says:

          “You know, a guy who kills baby elephants for kicks to be giving James Comey a lesson in character — strength of character — is rich at best and pathetic at worst.”
          — Nicole Wallace commenting on Donald Trump, Jr.

  39. dakinikat says:

  40. Enheduanna says:

    This is a good composite of tRump’s issues all in one place with links:

    https://www.vox.com/2017/6/8/15749592/trump-tax-evasion

    Title of article:
    There’s so much more about Trump to investigate than just Russia
    Tax evasion, fraud, misuse of charitable funds…

  41. dakinikat says:

    • bostonboomer says:

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      • Fannie says:

        He’s a damn liar! He said during the election he was a very smart man, and didn’t need any briefings. And the Republicans brought into it, and today they are just holds his hands while he pisses all over our Country, and the good citizens, including our military. He’s head of the Klan, and they are going to protect their leader.

  42. bostonboomer says:

    Trump’s attorney’s statement was full of typos according to CNN.

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  43. Enheduanna says:

    Another good one from Vox, by Matt Yglesias no less:

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/8/15724502/hillary-was-right

    Title:
    James Comey’s testimony shows Hillary Clinton was right all along
    It’s so much worse than “careless” email server management.

    • NW Luna says:

      Yglesias runs so fast after dropping that the media (including him) screwed up that you almost don’t see it. Yet it’s there.

      • Enheduanna says:

        LOL – he sure did. Maybe when these kids grow up they’ll realize what they did.