Meanwhile, for those who continue to consume anonymously-sourced news from CNN, NYT, WAPO, etc, as pure fact, please consider Comey's testimony that the February NY Times story alleging numerous contacts between Trump associates and Russia was "almost entirely wrong"
Comey said a February NY Times story claiming contacts between Trump associates and Russia was "almost entirely wrong"— Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron) June 8, 2017
After admitting that he gave his memos to Columbia Professor Dan Richman, one has to wonder why Comey "felt free to share that" given that those memos were the property of the FBI, drafted on a classified FBI computer, while on duty in his capacity as an FBI employee, etc...some might call that a felony.
Blunt: "You didn't consider your memo on @POTUS mtgs to be a govt document?"
Comey: "As a private citizen I felt free to share that."
Comey admits that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch attempted to diminish his public conversations about the Hillary Clinton investigation by referring to it as a "matter" rather than an "investigation." Of course, this was an obvious attempt to protect Hillary Clinton's ongoing 2016 campaign by tainting an investigation...yet, ironically, this never prompted Comey to start "memorializing" his conversations with Lynch.
"We had an investigation open at the time. So that gave me a queasy feeling."
Comey says he "had a good friend" who is a "professor at Columbia Law School" leak his 'memos' to the press in hopes of getting a Special Prosecutor appointed.
And that "good friend" has already been confirmed as Dan Richman:
Comey on Trump's alleged White House recordings: "Lordy, I hope there are tapes."
Comey confirms that Trump never "directed" him to let the Flynn investigation go:
Comey: “I took it as – this is what he wants me to do” when Trump said he hoped he’d lay off the Flynn, but I didn’t do it pic.twitter.com/Uoz4wf2ORg— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 8, 2017
Though you'll never hear this statement on the MSM, here is Comey saying that neither Trump nor anyone else in his administration ever asked him to back down on the Russia investigation:
Comey says Trump's expanation for his firing were "lies, plain and simple."
NBCNews: Comey on Trump's explanation for firing: 'Those were lies plain and simple' https://t.co/ygud5JQ3yN— Maximiliano Valdes (@maxvaldes) June 8, 2017
* * *
Before the hearing even gets underway, the AP is reporting that Trump "disputes' statements made in Comey's opening comments...will we finally get to hear those White House recordings that Trump tweeted about?
BREAKING: Source: Trump `disputes' Comey's claim that he asked for loyalty and to let go of the Flynn probe.— The Associated Press (@AP) June 8, 2017
And so it begins...
* * *
For those who missed it, here is our preview of today's festivities from earlier.
At 10AM EST former FBI Director James Comey will make his first public appearance, since being fired by President Trump, as he provides testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
As we covered in detail last night, Comey provided the best 'preview' of today's hearing when his opening statement was released yesterday afternoon. Undoubtedly, the focus of today's hearing will come down to Comey's testimony that Trump asked him to "let it go" in regards to the FBI's Flynn investigation and repeatedly asked for Comey's "loyalty." Here are the key sections (as we noted here):
A few moments later, the President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.
The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” I replied only that “he is a good guy.” (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would “let this go.”
Of course, while Democrat Senators will inevitably try to force Comey to admit, at least in his opinion, that Trump "obstructed justice", Charles Krauthammer did a masterful job of explaining exactly why that will never happen...primarily because it would mean that Comey himself would be guilty of a federal crime and subject to prison time.
Speaking with Fox's Brett Baier, Krauthammer pointed out that Comey is masterful at protecting his own ass and would never slip up to the point of alleging outright obstruction because he would be "indicting himself for not resigning, for not making a statement, for not bringing it out in the open."
“Here there is one question — did the president obstruct justice? That’s what everybody is waiting for. I don’t think there’s anything of great interest other than that.
And his answer I think is going to be obvious. He will navigate to a point where he says, ‘Well, there might’ve been some pressure but it’s not obstruction.’ Why? Because if it were obstruction, then he is indicting himself. For not resigning, for not making a statement, for not bringing it out in the open.
So he can’t say it’s obstruction which is what everybody who wants to see Trump destroyed is waiting to hear. So what we will hear is something navigating in between and saying ‘Well, it wasn’t really pressure, he was speaking on behalf of an associate, a friend. It could be interpreted in various ways.’ That’s what I think is going to happen and that’s why I think it’s going to be a bust.”
Forward to the 3:10 mark for the relevant Krauthammer commentary:
Of course, all eyes will also be watching how Trump decides to respond to Comey's testimony. A couple of days ago, Robert Costa reported that the President planned to "live tweet" during the event:
I'm told by two WH sources that Pres. Trump does not plan to put down Twitter on Thursday. May live tweet if he feels the need to respond.— Robert Costa (@costareports) June 6, 2017
But, we suspect his legal team took some issue with that approach as it's now being reported the Trump will watch the hearing from a White House dining room and will be surrounded by lawyers and advisors.
Finally, the last thing to watch is how the media responds. For days now CNN has been hyping today's testimony as the greatest television event since the "Dallas" finale in 1991 and has even referred to it repeatedly as "Washington's Super Bowl."
Moreover, they have been repeatedly updating their audience, for several days we might add, on the 700 different ways they'll be able to tune into the live hearing scheduled for later this week.
Beginning at 9:45 a.m. ET, live coverage of the testimony will be on CNN and streaming on CNN.com, the CNN app on phone and tablet, and on mobile devices. You can also watch it on your Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV with the CNNgo app, CNN's Facebook Page and via Apple News.
To say that CNN is excited for today's hearing would be a bit of an understatement. Given that fact, we suspect that no matter what Comey says today the mainstream media has already decided the narrative they will push after today's hearing has concluded...after all, they couldn't possibly let their audience down if the most hyped event in CNN's history turns out to be a "nothing burger." Of course, one has to look no further than last night's CNN coverage for evidence of how the post-Comey shows will spin the event...as most of the world, including equity markets, figured that Comey's opening statement was a positive for Trump's administration, CNN spent the night with guests talking about when impeachment proceedings should be started and why Trump was so concerned about Russian hookers.