The Corner

Politics & Policy

Comey’s Testimony

He’s a good witness, in part because he’s so practiced at this. A few points:

‐I’ve wondered why he didn’t push back more against Trump if he thought things the president asked him to do or not to do were so inappropriate, but his explanation — he just wanted to get out of the situations as quickly and diplomatically as possible — seems credible to me; that’s the way human beings react in real time.

‐We heard this morning about what a shrewd operator Comey is — deliberately not including any classified material in his memos about his interactions with Trump so they could be spread around as necessary, getting a friend at Columbia to leak their contents to the press after his firing to try to force the appointment of a special counsel. As a practical matter and the merits aside, this was a reason not to fire him like Trump did — Comey knows how to fight back bureaucratically and in the media.

‐Comey’s evaluation of Trump’s character is damning, but not anything we didn’t know. Still, it’s amazing to hear a former FBI director call a president of the United States a liar.

‐The legal case against Trump has unavoidable factual holes, and Senators Risch, Rubio, and Lankford were adept in pointing them out. Trump only expressed a hope regarding Comey dropping the Flynn matter, and never followed up about it; the president has the authority to order the opening or closing of any investigation (so long as his motive isn’t corrupt); Trump didn’t object to the Russia probe looking into the conduct of his associates; the only ask Trump ever made regarding the broader Russia probe was that Comey say publicly that Trump wasn’t under investigation.

‐Finally, Tom Cotton made a telling point at the end, noting how Comey threatened to resign his Justice Department position over a dispute over surveillance policy in 2004, but despite how disturbing he found Trump’s conduct, never threatened to resign over it.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More