Former FBI director James Comey spoke at an open Senate hearing today, answering questions for more than two hours. I’m not exactly a fan of Comey’s as I don’t agree with the way he’s handled some things, but I also can’t say he was wrong.*
Today, though, I found Comey to be exceedingly cautious and fair in his testimony. It wasn’t just that he did not want to make a mistake or share information that he shouldn’t. It was clear that he also did not want to offer, or even appear to offer, opinions about other people’s motives, words, or actions. He was careful to provide only facts so that we can all let those facts lead us where they go rather than have the facts guided in one direction or another by our whims, opinions, or prejudices.
While I listened to the senators’ questions and to Comey’s answers to their questions I was struck by how normal it all felt. I understand these people have to keep their cool, do their jobs, get to the bottom of this mess, but these routine-sounding questions and nonchalant responses were a welcome change in the political landscape. I’ve become too used to tantrums over small things and ignoring bigger things. Petty, greedy lies from government have become the norm (not just 45; I live in Ryan’s district of Wisconsin, governed by Scott Walker, so you can imagine). The matters they discussed in the Senate today were the kinds of things that should have us all standing up in our seats, on our desks, as we watch and listen, ranting. These are holy shit huge problems brought on by corruption like we’ve not seen in decades. We should be assembling a posse to fetch that greedy wannabe dictator and all of his numpties out of OUR White House so we can toss them into a very deep hole. We should be removing any trace of Russia from our maps, deleting all their phone numbers, and sending them one last letter to warn them that if they fuck with anything not theirs they’ll have to answer to a real president, NATO (after we’ve formally and profusely apologized for Donnie’s horrid performance), and the United Nations (we owe them apologies, too, I’ve not forgotten we sent Nikki Haley there). Not an ignorant, incompetent, bigoted, reality show fuck-up. A real president.
Yet, America patiently watched them, listened to damning evidence, and we went about our day knowing that our useless republican Congress won’t do a fucking thing. How are we not ready to torch the White House? the Capitol Building? torch it all? smoke ’em out? Oh, wait, it’s ours. We are trying to save it, save us. They’re the ones who want to burn it all, and they’re doing a damned fine job of it.
(And yes, although I’ve lost a lot of respect for John McCain since about the time he ran for president (only partly for choosing Palin as his running mate), I am concerned for him and whatever caused his strange performance today. I do not wish him ill and hope he gets medical help. Soon. I hear they can reverse effects of a stroke if it’s caught quickly.)
(* Comey’s letter to Congress late in October 2016 about reviewing emails from Weiner’s computer comes to mind. It would have taken a day or two for the review to be sure there was nothing pertinent to HRC’s closed email case, and he knew that, so in my opinion the letter could have waited. It turns out it would have been unnecessary and did a lot of damage to an experienced, viable candidate. After all, there was an open investigation about Russia messing with the election going at the same time, and he couldn’t be bothered to mention it. That actually mattered then and now. Again, though, difference in opinion, and I cannot claim to know or understand all the reasons he did what he did.)
Link: “Comey Testimony: Highlights of the Hearing” – The New York Times
Link: “Sen. John McCain’s bizarre questioning of Comey” – by Peter W. Stevenson of The Washington Post
Link: “Who’s on the Senate Intel panel questioning Comey?” – PBS link, by Erica Werner and Matthew Daly of Associated Press
Link: “Initial Comments on James Comey’s Written Testimony” – by Benjamin Wittes
Edited 9 June 2017 at 0126 to include this link: “THE TRUE STORY OF THE COMEY LETTER DEBACLE” – by Bethany McLean of Vanity Fair