While the story grew and grew from, “I hope you can …” into “I’ll kill your whole family if you don’t,” everyone forgot to check what Comey has actually said. While The Times went with two anonymous sources, let’s do the old-fashioned thing and just go right to the primary source — the former director himself.
Comey, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3, said — under oath — that he’s never been pressured to close an investigation for political purposes.
“Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something like that — without an appropriate purpose.”
“I mean where 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,” Comey told the senators.
The former FBI director has let Trump twist in the wind over the purported memo. But Comey is expected to testify again before Congress as early as next week, and a lawmaker there will almost certainly ask about this contradictory conundrum.
As has been stated before: either Comey thought Trump was obstructing justice before and failed to report it to anyone – which will put Comey in real hot water – or he really believes Trump didn’t do anything more than spark an awkward conversation. However, under oath, he said he had never been pressured to end an investigation. Sounds to me like this either a non-story or Comey is in trouble.
Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States. Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361) He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.
So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ? If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it…
…by writing a memo, Comey has put himself in a box. If he now accuses the President of obstruction, he places himself in legal jeopardy for failing to promptly and properly report it. If he says it was merely an uncomfortable conversation, he clears the president of wrongdoing and sullies his own image as a guy who attempted to smear the man who fired him.”
This is what I was saying yesterday. This apparently happened in February, and the memo was apparently written in February. If Comey believed Trump was trying to obstruct and had made an illegal demand, it should have been reported immediately to the DOJ… not to the New York Times after he was fired in May, three months later. Which is why this whole memo stinks of revenge and not much else. He had to know the facts presented in the last paragraph of the quoted text above.