With the press losing its mind over the news that former FBI director James Comey has a memo detailing President Trump saying he “hoped” Comey would let fired National Security Advisor Mike Flynn off the hook, tape has now emerged from Comey’s testimony before Congress in which Comey admits that he has not been pressured to end any investigation. That pressure was, of course, the basis of the Left’s claims regarding supposed obstruction of justice by Trump: that Trump told Comey he wanted him to drop the case, then fired him when he didn’t.
Here’s Comey testifying on May 3:
Not in my experience, because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something without appropriate purpose. We’re oftentimes — they give us opinions that we don’t see a case there, and so you ought to stop investing resources in it, but I’m talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason, that would be a very big deal. It’s not happened in my experience.
This would seem to undermine any claim that Comey felt threatened by Trump over the Flynn affair.
Now, it’s quite possible that the first evidence that the threat was real was Comey’s firing. In other words, Trump made Comey an offer he couldn’t refuse, Comey refused it, and then Trump garroted him like Carlo in the front of the car after giving him tickets to Los Angeles. That’s the case Democrats will make. But it certainly casts doubt on claims that Trump immediately put Comey under pressure.
It’s always been far more likely that Trump was speaking out of turn than that Trump was actively seeking to impede an investigation into Flynn or Russia more broadly. Trump is clearly frustrated that he hasn’t been personally exonerated, and he’s lashing out at anyone who won’t exonerate him — and he may be right to feel that way, since the Flynn hiring and the hiring of former campaign manager Paul Manafort were probably acts of ignorance and stupidity rather than malice and collusion.
In any case, the clear-cut “Trump was pressing Comey” case isn’t all that clear-cut.