I don’t care how Donald Trump, the Republican Party, or his supporters try to spin the truth, any rational person listening to what James Comey said today can conclude that it was Trump’s intent to influence the decisions of the head of the FBI, and obstruct justice on an active criminal investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Don’t give me this nonsense that because Trump only said he “hoped” Comey would let the criminal investigation into Flynn go, that somehow means he wasn’t trying to obstruct justice.
That is complete and total bullshit.
To look at the context of what took place between Trump and Comey, it’s abundantly clear what happened:
- He passively aggressively threatened Comey’s job.
- Made it clear to Comey that he expected “something” (Comey’s words) because he kept him on as head of the FBI.
- After passively aggressively threatening his job, made it clear he demanded loyalty from Comey.
- Almost always spoke to Comey in private meetings where nobody else was around.
- During a meeting where he cleared the room of everybody, including the attorney general, he then told Comey he “hoped” he’d “let the criminal investigation into Flynn go.”
- Repeatedly put pressure on him to make public remarks about the active investigations which he wasn’t comfortable making.
- Fired him once he realized Comey wasn’t going to do what he wanted.
- Publicly threatened Comey on Twitter about possibly recording their conversations in what appeared to be a blatant attempt to keep him from talking about what they had discussed.
- Trump then admitted during an interview that Russia played a part in his decision to fire Comey.
Trump isn’t a very intelligent person, but he is smart enough to know that you don’t directly order the head of the FBI to do anything.
However, he clearly felt he could get away with making passive aggressive threats against Comey’s job security, spending weeks trying to put pressure on and intimidate the former head of the FBI hoping that he’d do what he wanted, then firing him (following through on his passive aggressive threats) for refusing to show “loyalty” by giving into his demands.
If someone you had a legal dispute with, a person with a known history of trying to bully and intimidate others into doing what they wanted, came up to you and said something like:
You know, you have a really cute dog. I’ve heard good things about your sweet little dog. I bet you really love your dog, don’t you?
I really like dogs because of how loyal they are. You can’t put a price on loyalty.
You know, I really hope you’ll let this little legal matter between us go. You’re a good person. So I truly hope you let all of this go. I hear great things about you and you have such a cute little dog. I really hope you let all of this go.
Wouldn’t it be fairly safe for you to assume that person could have been making passive aggressive threats against your dog, targeting your fondness for your furry friend, just before making it clear that they were “hoping” you’d drop the legal matter against them? Then let’s say a few weeks later, after you didn’t drop the legal dispute like they said they hoped you would, something tragically happened to your dog — wouldn’t that person cross your mind as somebody who might have harmed your pet?
That’s how high-profile and crafty criminals behave!
An organized crime boss isn’t going to make a direct threat against a person they’re trying to intimidate. They’re going to say something like, “I hope nothing bad happens to your wife and children since you’ve been so busy investigating my establishment” or, “It would be really unfortunate if something were to happen to you while you were investigating me. I hope this situation goes away quickly before something unfortunate happens.”
Those are clearly threats, worded in such a way so that they can deny technically directly threatening someone.
Based on Comey’s accounts of the two men’s interactions, it’s obvious that Trump set the tone that for Comey to keep his job, he demanded loyalty. He then proceeded to test that loyalty over the following weeks, repeatedly trying to intimidate the former head of the FBI into making decisions based on what he wanted, and when Comey refused — he fired him.
Just because he didn’t directly order Comey to end the investigation into Flynn, that doesn’t mean that’s not exactly what he was saying to him when he ordered everyone out of the Oval Office, including the attorney general, moments before telling the then-head of the FBI, “I hope you let this investigation into Flynn go.”
Trump, Republicans, and their supporters can push this idea that because he simply said he “hoped” Comey would put an end to the investigation, but since he didn’t directly tell him to do so, that means he didn’t obstruct justice — but that’s absolute nonsense.
What Comey has outlined are blatant attempts by the current “President” of the United States to influence the behavior of the head of the FBI to not only make public statements he wasn’t comfortable making, but to end active criminal investigations. When Comey refused to do any of that, he was then fired for not being “loyal” enough to Trump to do what the “president” was clearly trying to pressure him to do.
Any rational person can tell what was going on, what Donald Trump was trying to do, and the real reason why James Comey was ultimately fired.