Mon Mar 20, 2017, 01:12 PM
bigtree (67,254 posts)
Lawfare: "A quiet, reserved Comey may well spell trouble for the President"
...consider three possible scenarios.
In the first, the Russia investigation is either mostly complete, does not implicate the President in any significant way, or is a bust altogether. In this scenario, maybe General Flynn and Paul Manafort and Carter Page have problems, and maybe there's some ongoing counter-intelligence activity, but there's nothing big that Comey believes he has to protect save the sources and methods behind all such investigations. Comey is reportedly irate about Trump's wiretapping allegations, which don't merely defame the prior president but implicate the FBI in illegal activity. In this scenario, there's no particular reason for Comey not to tell his whole story and give vent to his anger. If this scenario is the reality, the template for Comey's testimomy will be his famous interaction with Sen. Schumer in 2007 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he spilled the beans on the 2004 hospital room confrontation over the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
In the second scenario, there are still threads of the Russia investigation to protect but Comey does not necessarily expect them to lead anywhere. If this is the case, expect him to be tight-lipped about Russia but relatively communicative about the wiretapping allegations. In this scenario, I would expect him to answer committee questions about Trump's wiretapping allegations but not in a fashion that is especially provocative vis a vis the President. In other words, expect Comey to answer direct questions but in a just-the-facts kind of fashion that doesn't involve a lot of narrative storytelling. And expect him not to give information that would compromise the aspects of the investigation that may still be ongoing.
In the third scenario, Russia is a very big deal. Comey, in other words, has significant investigative equities to protect and he believes that he needs to be there in order to protect them—in other words, that he has a responsibility to not get himself fired because of his anger about the Trump tweets (or anything else) because he has to make sure the investigation can proceed unimpeded. In this situation, I would expect him to be minimally verbal. He may have to answer yes or no questions in certain instances, including about the truth of the wiretapping allegations, but he will refuse to answer a lot of questions. He will make as little news as humanly possible. He will be exceptionally spare with his opinions. He will make a point of not antagonizing the President. Lots of people will leave disappointed.
If I were advising Trump, this is the scenario that would scare me most. We know, both from the hospital room testimony and from the Clinton email testimony, how Comey behaves when he feels at liberty to speak. We also know he's angry right now and would presumably love a chance to defend the integrity of his agency and his agents. If he passes up that opportunity, I will read that as a sign that he is biting his lip very hard because there's something more important at stake.
read more: https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-listen-jim-comeys-testimony-monday
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