There are a number of important takeaways from today’s Comey hearings, but one of the big ones elaborated on a point I hit yesterday in discussing Comey’s prepared statement: Trump was never under FBI investigation during the time that Comey headed the FBI, Comey personally told Trump that three times, and Trump grew increasingly frustrated that Comey wouldn’t clear the “cloud” over his head by publicly saying so. Indeed, Trump’s explanation to Lester Holt of why he fired Comey is entirely consistent with this.
But with Comey’s repeated and emphatic testimony that Trump was not under investigation, we have some new revisionist history: wildly backtracking liberals and Democrats claiming that nobody ever said Trump was under FBI investigation. And this is simply untrue. Here’s a sampling of what Democrats, liberals, and the media were saying back when Comey was privately reassuring Trump that he wasn’t under investigation:
Salon, January 20 headline: “The FBI is leading an investigation into Donald Trump’s connections with Russia” — first line, “The FBI is leading a multi-agency investigation into possible links between Russian officials and President-elect Donald Trump.”
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, March 20: “The FBI is investigating a sitting President. Been a long time since that happened.”
The FBI is investigating a sitting President. Been a long time since that happened.
— Neera Tanden 🌊 (@neeratanden) March 20, 2017
Trump is not in the clear after today: His actions in leaning on Comey over the Michael Flynn investigation were plainly improper, to pick the clearest example. But in light of Comey’s repeated confirmation that the FBI was never investigating Trump during his tenure at the FBI, and that he had privately briefed both Trump and Congress to that effect, a whole lot of people — starting with Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren — owe President Trump an apology.