Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Elusive Mr. Comey

Fun fact: After going back over former FBI Director Jame's Comey's testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8th, I've noticed something amazing. 

Recall what was happening.  An FBI Director who'd been fired by President Donald Trump had been called to testify before the Committee after an admission he'd taken memos with him from the FBI and had given at least 1 of those memos to a friend to leak on his behalf to the New York Times.  

In over 2 hours of testimony in which he answered questions from Senators, Comey manages to never tell the Committee:

1) how many memos there actually are.  

That's right. He mentions he had 'nine' conversations with Trump that he summarized in his memos, so the Senators assume there must be nine memos.  You can see this in some of the questions Comey is asked, like this one: 

At no point in any of his testimony does Comey volunteer in his answers just how many of his memos there actually are.  

In fact, it's not until over a month later it's revealed in this report by The Hill that the number of Comey memos is SEVEN, not nine, as several of the Senators were assuming.

Comey manages to never tell the Committee

2) how many of these memos that he took with him contained classified information.  

In that exchange above, Senator Heinrich kinda sorta MAYBE invites Comey to directly tell the Committee how many of these memos were written so as to be classified - that is, how many were written on classified devices and now many contained classified information. 

Comey declines to state exactly how many memos contained classified information. He seems to imply two memos were classified, but does not really provide a number. 

Naturally, the subject of just how many documents with classified information that he took without authorization from his last isn't an issue Comey wants to go into great detail about, so he doesn't.  He just kinda offhandedly says he believes there possible could be two classified memos.  

In fact, according to The Hill's report, four of Comey's seven memos contained information that was classified at the 'Secret' & 'Confidential' levels.   

And as far as I can see, none of the Senators on the Intel Committee ask Comey the obvious follow up question to the admission that some of these memos contained classified information:  

"Wait, you thought it'd be OK to take classified documents with you after you were fired?" 

Comey is a long time federal prosecutor. He's been in government service for awhile. He knows quite well what happens to people to take documents with classified information without authorization. 

But wait! There's another issue where it's just truly amazing that NONE of the Senators that questioned him were able to get a straight answer: 

Comey somehow manages to never tell the Committee: 

3) how many memos did he actually give to Richman.

Ponder that.  

These are the THREE QUESTIONS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SETTLED FROM THE START.  If the people questioning Comey had been on the top of their game. 

Which they clearly were not. 

So this post is a window into why I don't really expect much from Congressional hearings.  I've been watching these things for decades.  During all the grandstanding and posing for the cameras that goes on, hardly ANYBODY ever seems to ask the right questions. 

And a shifty, clever guy like Comey will take advantage of that every single time.  

He walked out of that room without having really told them ANYTHING.