When a sentence starts out, “I can definitively say the president is not a liar,” as was proclaimed by Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday, you know things are looking grim.
Her comments came in response to testimony from former FBI Director James Comey, who told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he believed he was fired by President Trump over the growing Russia investigation and that other arguments by the White House were “lies, plain and simple.”
In bombshell testimony Thursday, Comey, who was abruptly let go a month ago, said he began documenting his numerous, and often uncomfortable, conversations with Trump — in which the president asked for his “loyalty” and for him to scuttle the FBI’s investigation into former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn — because he “was honestly concerned (Trump) might lie” about their meetings.
“I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not just to defend myself,” but also the FBI, Comey added.
“My impression is something big is about to happen. I need to remember every word that is spoken,” he said of the memos he wrote immediately after his encounters with the president.
During his appearance, Comey spoke about his Feb. 14 private conversation with Trump in the Oval Office — the day after Flynn was asked to resign for lying to Vice President Pence over his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition. Comey said that he believed the president was indeed directing him to scuttle the investigation into Flynn.
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes”
Comey said he had seen Trump’s tweet last month suggesting that the president had tapes of their conversations — and that if those did exist, they would corroborate his testimony.
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” he told senators.
Asked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., as to whether he believed Trump colluded with Russia during the campaign, Comey responded, “I don’t think I should answer in an open setting.”
Following his open hearing with members of the intelligence committee, Comey went into a closed briefing with senators.
Pressed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as to why he didn’t call for an independent counsel to handle the Hillary Clinton email scandal, Comey said that he “knew there was no case there” and that “calling for a special counsel would be brutally unfair.”
The president did not immediately respond directly to Comey’s testimony and has not tweeted, as many people speculated he might. However, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. did largely live-tweet the event, showing that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Flynn stuff is BS in context 2 guys talking about a guy they both know well. I hear “I hope nothing happens but you have to do your job” — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr
very far from any kind of coercion or influence and certainly not obstruction! — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr)
Knowing my father for 39 years when he “orders or tells” you to do something there is no ambiguity, you will know exactly what he means — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr)
The Best and the Brightest
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan defended Trump, arguing that one reason the president had unusual conversations with Comey was because Trump was new at being the president and was still learning the ropes.
Ryan was pushed by a reporter who asked how being new is an acceptable excuse when he has staff and legal counsel.
“I’m not saying it’s an acceptable excuse, it’s just my observation,” the soon to be former-Wisconsin Republican replied.
Stay tuned for more…