Following countdown clocks on cable outlets and dramatic claims in the media about what devastating testimony to expect, James Comey sat down before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. The hearing ended up being a bit of a let-down for critics of President Trump who hoped to get him impeached (or removed via the 25th amendment!) as soon as possible. Comey admitted that Donald Trump had told the truth when he wrote that the former FBI director had thrice told him he was not under investigation in the Russia meddling probe. Comey admitted that Trump had twice encouraged him to get to the bottom of the Russian meddling issue.
But the media chose to run with a dramatically different narrative. That narrative was if James Comey had not proven obstruction, he came pretty darn close.
“Is Trump Guilty Of Obstruction Of Justice? Comey Laid Out The Case,” was the big takeaway from NPR’s Domenico Montanaro.
“Comey Bluntly Raises Possibility of Trump Obstruction and Condemns His ‘Lies’,” exulted the New York Times, describing his testimony as “a blunt, plain-spoken assessment” by a man who was “humble, folksy and matter-of-fact.”
The New Yorker was even more breathless. “Comey’s Revenge: Measuring Obstruction,” wrote Evan Osnos. “[T]his was not a political partisan tossing off a criticism of a rival; this was a career prosecutor, who served Republican and Democratic Presidents, presenting a time line of specific statements from the President that he described as either untrue or potentially criminal.”
MSNBC agreed. And I watched an hour of CNN the night of the hearing with the sober legal analysis of Jeffrey Toobin, who declared repeatedly that he’d never seen such obstruction of justice in the history of the world. I’m only slightly exaggerating.
Most liberal, mainstream media have flipped and flopped on their view of James Comey, in direct relationship to whether his actions hurt Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. They’re currently huge fans, needless to say.
Comey is a man of rectitude, they’re currently saying. A boy scout who is very honest, and good at laying out obstruction of justice cases.
It’s worth looking at a few of these cases, and whether they say anything about his current judgment.