It's a little thing — a tiny thing, really.
But former FBI director James Comey has staked his entire reputation on his veracity. He's on a nationwide tour — all over the airwaves, from "The View" to Jake Tapper's CNN show "The Lead" to "Late Night with Stephen Colbert" — to tell America that he has a monopoly on truth and that his word is golden.
Of course, much of Comey's narrative is beginning to unravel — the release of the memos he leaked did much damage to his story (see Ben Shapiro's piece here). But the memos do shed light on one of Comey's weirder claims: That he never saw President Trump laugh — ever.
In his big interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Comey said Trump was humorless.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You notice something else — during that dinner. You say the President didn’t laugh.
COMEY: Yeah, not at all. And I was struck by it. So struck by it, it stayed with me, that I’ve never seen him laugh. Not in public, not in private. And at a dinner with someone — I mean, I’m not a comedian but I occasionally say something that’s funny that people chuckle with each other.
But I never saw anything that resembled a laugh. And I could over-interpret that, I could be — also, we’re missing something that — that maybe he’s — he’s breaking up in stitches with other people other than the FBI director, but I also tried — after I got fired, I thought — that stayed with me. And so I went and tried to find examples of videos where he’s laughing and I could only find that really wasn’t a genuine laugh.
In his book, Comey writes, “I don’t recall seeing him laugh, ever. Not during small talk before meetings. Not in a conversation. Not even here, during an ostensibly relaxed dinner. ... I suspect his apparent inability to do so is rooted in deep insecurity, his inability to be vulnerable or to risk himself by appreciating the humor of others, which, on reflection, is really very sad in a leader, and a little scary in a president.”
Hmm. Weird claims — especially in light of Comey's now-released memos.
At one point in the memos, as Comey is recounting the contents of a scurrilous dossier that contains allegations about Trump and prostitutes and "golden showers," Comey wrote that during a meeting with the president:
I said, the Russians allegedly had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013. He interjected, “there were no prostitutes, there were never prostitutes.” He then said something about him being the kind of guy who didn’t need to “go there” and laughed (which I understood to be communicating that he didn’t need to pay for sex).
Huh. So he did laugh — and Comey did see him laugh (even noted it in his memo).
Again, it's a little thing. The memos are unraveling far bigger things in Comey's narrative.
But the former FBI director, who is on a personal quest to bring down the president of the United States for firing him from a job for which he was clearly unqualified, is seeking to paint himself as irreproachable.
So little things matter — a lot.