The Corner

Law & the Courts

Comey So Far: Trump’s a Liar, But Not a Target Or an Obstructor

A few key points from the opening half-hour or so of former FBI director James Comey’s testimony . . .

1. Comey said he has seen no evidence that the voting results of the 2016 election were altered, hacked, or inaccurate in any way.

2. Comey said that at no point did President Trump or anyone else in the administration tell him to shut down the investigation into Russian attempts to influence or meddle in the 2016 election.

3. There was internal debate about whether the FBI could announce that president-elect was not a target of the investigation. Comey said it was “literally true, but it could be misleading because the nature of the investigation was such it would touch the campaign, and the person at the head of the campaign was the candidate.”

4. Comey later said to Senator James Risch (R., Idaho), that it was accurate to say that while he was director, “Trump was not under investigation.”

5. Comey declined to say whether he felt Trump’s comments constituted obstruction of justice; he said it was better for Robert Mueller to reach that conclusion.

6. One of the reasons Comey felt it necessary to address the FBI’s examination of classified information on Hillary Clinton’s server publicly is because former attorney general Loretta Lynch asked him to call the Clinton e-mail probe a “matter” and not an “investigation.” That’s a tacit acknowledgement he didn’t trust her to describe it accurately or handle it fairly and impartially.

Despite all this, Comey is painting an ugly portrait of Trump. He said the president and the White House lied about his performance as FBI director after his firing and said he expected Trump to lie about their conversations: “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so I felt it important to document.”

It adds up to an unflattering description of the president of the United States. But Democrats hoping for a good supporting evidence for impeachment are, so far, likely to be disappointed.