|James Comey and NSA Head Michael Rogers (WaPo photo)|
From the news summary of the former FBI Director's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee: [bold added]
Former FBI Director James Comey told senators Thursday that he felt President Donald Trump had directed him to drop an investigation into a former adviser, and that after his firing he leaked accounts of his conversations with the president in hopes of sparking the appointment of a special counsel.On balance the testimony appears to help more than hurt President Trump. Mr. Trump is not under investigation for the alleged Russian election hacking; he has displayed ignorance about Washington's protocols and unwritten rules.
His comments came in a highly anticipated hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee that included Mr. Comey’s testimony that he believed that he was receiving an order when Mr. Trump said he “hoped” he would be able to end the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry into former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
Mr. Comey declined to offer his opinion on whether he thought Mr. Trump was trying to obstruct justice, but he said that issue is something that the recently appointed special counsel would examine. He also confirmed he told Mr. Trump that he wasn’t under investigation as part of the FBI’s probe into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Peggy Noonan: The president has no understanding of the norms, rules and traditions of his job.
Presidents don’t lean on FBI chiefs in this way. It is at odds with traditional boundaries, understandings and protocols. It was embarrassing to read. It was the move of a naïf who’s a cynic—I know how the big boys play. Actually it’s not how the big boys play, it’s how someone who learns about government by binge-watching “House of Cards” would play. It was bumptious with the special bumptiousness of those who think themselves savvy.WSJ lead editorial on Friday: The former FBI director should have resigned if he believes what he now says. [bold added]
...inappropriate does not mean illegal...
he harmed the president by documenting, again and persuasively, that Mr. Trump does not understand the norms, rules and traditions of his job.
James Comey’s first post-FBI appearance in front of the Senate on Thursday turned out to be a political anticlimax, with no major revelations about the alleged Trump-Russia nexus or the President’s supposed attempt to derail the investigation. But nearly three hours of testimony did expose the methods of the highly political former FBI director.Kimberley Strassel: What his Thursday testimony made clear is how much he [Comey] has damaged the country.
...Mr. Comey is no Jack Ryan. He’s a government official motivated by political self-interest who should have resigned if he believed what he now says he did. That he failed to act at the time suggests his motive now is more revenge than truth-telling.
Mr. Comey could have spared us this by simply stating, as he acknowledged Thursday, that Mr. Trump wasn’t under investigation. One could argue he had a duty to explain, given that he’d taken the unusual step of confirming the probe, and given the leaks from his FBI and the flood of fake news that resulted. But no. James Comey judged that (in this case, at least) it would be improper to speak out. So we’ve had all Russia all the time.Takeaway: The President was never under investigation for colluding with Russia. So what has the wall-to-wall media coverage been about for the past six months?
...When he was fired, he leaked to the media, through a “close friend,” highly selective bits of his privileged communications with the president. And then he stayed silent and let the speculation rage. Thus, for the past month the nation has been mired in a new scandal, fueled by half-leaks. Thank you, yet again, Mr. Comey.