Comey Testimony Was a Ratings BOOM

For political geeks, it was Must-See TV.

The viewership numbers are in for the Senate Intelligence Committee testimony of former FBI Director James Comey, and they are rather impressive. They’re especially impressive when you consider it was mid-morning on a weekday.

According to Nielson data, approximately 19.5 million viewers tuned in to hear what the ousted Comey would say.

The winner of the day, as far as ratings, was ABC, with 3.3 million tuning in from 10am to 1pm.

CBS was a close second.

Also:

Fox News led among cable outlets, with 3.1 million viewers, while CNN scored first in the younger 25 to 54-year-old demographic coveted by advertisers, followed by NBC and ABC.

This should come as no surprise. The buildup to Comey’s Thursday morning testimony was the equivalent of a heavyweight title fight.

In the heat of the congressional probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Comey became a key player, and politicos breathlessly awaited to see if he would deliver a bombshell, right into President Trump’s lap.

The expected bombshell didn’t come, with only a few surprises.

The knowledge that Comey leaked details of his own memos through a friend to the media, in order to prompt a special investigator to take over is probably the biggest news.

A close second may be that Trump asked all of his advisers and aides to leave the room, before asking Comey to let former national security adviser Michael Flynn go.

According to Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior aide Jared Kushner hesitated, lingering as if they knew this was a bad idea, but Trump brushed them out. At that point, he asked Comey if he could see his way clear to let Flynn go.

More than anything, it prompts the question as to why Flynn was so important to Trump, that he would go to those lengths, put himself in awkward, potentially illegal positions, in order to try and make it happen.

As happened with the panel of officials on Wednesday, Comey declined to answer many questions in an open setting, preferring to keep the meat of his answers for the closed meetings.

I’m sure viewers were expecting more, and depending on whose team you’re on, some are celebrating this as either a victory for Trump or an ominous sign of more to come.

Smart money says to reserve judgment until all those called to give testimony have spoken, and all the closed door hearings are conducted. We’re a long way from the end.

In the meantime, fingers crossed for no new eruptions from the White House. Our nation can’t move forward under the weight of this much dysfunction.

Even Chris Matthews Sees Comey’s Testimony As Undermining the Resistance

For the entirety of the Trump presidency we have been bombarded with fake news stories about President Donald J. Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton and bogus claims that President Trump was under FBI Investigation all pushed by the leaders of the so-called Resistance — politicians and the biased media wing of the Democrats’ Party.

The Washington Examiner reports, that thanks to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, even the ever Liberal Chris Matthews declarers that the anti-Trump conspiracy theories of the resistance “came apart.”

In his written and spoken testimony on Thursday, Comey said that he never felt that Trump had tried to impede the FBI’s investigation into Russia, even that the president had encouraged it and he suggested that former national security adviser Mike Flynn wasn’t at the heart of the investigation. Comey also confirmed that he had told Trump that he was not personally under any investigation and that the president had encouraged the Russia investigation, even if it implicated any of his associates.

You can watch the MSNBC video of Chris Matthews comments or read a partial transcript published by Real Clear Politics below

Partial Transcript:

The bigger story, Nicole touched on it there, the assumption of the president’s critics, his pursuers you might say, is that some time in the last year, the president had something to do with colluding with the Russians –something to do, a helping hand, to feeding their desire to affect the election in some way. Some role they played. Some conversation with Michael Flynn or Paul Manafort.

 

But yet what came apart this morning was that theory.

 

Two regards, the president said, according to the written tell me of Mr. Comey: Go ahead and get anybody satellite to my operation and nail them. I’m with you on that. That would mean Manafort, Carter Page, somebody like that.

 

And then what was fascinating, Comey said that basically Flynn wasn’t central to the Russia investigation, that he was touching on it. Of course, Flynn wasn’t honest in the answering of the official forms to become national security head, but they only touched on that, that it wasn’t related to that but that he could be flipped for that. In other words, they could flip him because they had him on something he dishonestly answered, but it wasn’t central to the Russia thing.

 

I always assumed what Trump was afraid of he had something to Flynn and Flynn could be flipped on that, and Flynn would testify against the president that he had some conversation with Flynn in terms of dealing with the Russians affirmatively. And if that’s not the case, where’s the there there?

 

Indeed, Where is the there there?

Sen. Harris Taken to the Woodshed by Sen. Burr (Videos)

During Wednesday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the committee chairman, found it necessary to scold Kamala Harris, the rude and overly ambitious Junior Democrat Senator from California. The object of Harris’ disrespect was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Harris, looking for a nationally televised moment to help spur her nascent campaign to become the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nominee, continually badgered Rosentein. Harris interrupted Rosentein time and time again as he politely to answer her question about the authority of former FBI Director Robert Mueller in his role as special counsel investigating Russia’s attempts to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

Finally, as you can see in the following video Burr took her to task:

Transcript via The Washington Free Beacon:

Will the senator suspend. The chair is going to exercise it’s right to allow the witnesses to answer the question,And the committee is on notice to provide the witnesses the courtesy, which has not been extended all the way across, extend the courtesy for questions to get answered.

As you can see, even then Harris criticized Rosenstein for “joking” about his ability to “filibuster” the committee before Rothstein was able to answer without Harris interrupting.

In another video prior to Burr’s intervention, you can hear Sen. John McCain complain that the witness should be allowed to answer.

Harris also interrogated Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly with the same lack of decorum during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday. You can watch that Harris badgering in the video below:

Partial Transcript via Real Clear Politics:

HARRIS: So are you aware that there are local law enforcement…
(CROSSTALK)
KELLY: Let me at least finish once before you interrupt me?
HARRIS: Sir, with all due respect…
KELLY: With all due respect, Senator.
HARRIS: Are you instructing local law enforcement leaders that they can overlook at DHS detainer request so they’re not exposed to criminal liability?
KELLY: We talk to them about whatever they’re comfortable with, whatever they think they can do within the interpretation of their local attorneys general, as an example, or local lawyers…
HARRIS: So when they’re…
(CROSSTALK)
KELLY: Would you let me finish once?
HARRIS: Excuse me? I’m asking the questions.
KELLY: But I’m trying to answer the questions.
HARRIS: When they are — when they tell you, as I know local police officers — police chiefs are being told, that it would expose their municipality to civil liability if they comply with the detainer requests, are you telling them that you will not withhold the DHS federal funding that they rely on?
KELLY: OK. Before I start to answer, will you let me finish?
HARRIS: If it’s responsive to the question, of course.

Harris was more concerned about what she wanted to say than any information Kelly had to offer.

After a mere five months in the Senate, Harris seems to be in an even bigger hurry then Sen. Barack Obama was  to run for president.

BREAKING: Comey’s Statement Paints a Worried, Clueless, Untrustworthy Trump

The Senate Intelligence Committee just published former FBI Director James Comey’s opening statement for tomorrow’s hearing, and it’s a damning document.

It’s not damning in the sense of President Trump committing a crime, or attempting to obstruct justice. There’s no evidence of that in Comey’s account.

What it does show is a president with no working knowledge of the FBI’s purpose, mandate, or value as an independent investigatory arm of the federal government. It shows a president whose understanding of what it means to be president is something akin to a king over a royal court. It shows a man obsessed with his personal image and relationships.

It shows a worried, thin-skinned, petty, and clueless man who doesn’t deserve the trust of those who operate in the public interest.

In short, it makes Trump look clueless, and that’s damning.

I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone.

Lawyers resort to memorializing every conversation immediately following in a few situations. One is when they meet one-on-one with clients who pay them for representation (for obvious reasons). Another is when they meet with other lawyers or parties in negotiation–typically these are short notes or emails to the other lawyer to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

A third scenario is when they are meeting one-on-one (without corroborating witnesses) with unreliable people, whose version of events may prove troubling in their work. Or when people in positions of power (such as politicians) attempt to manipulate or influence them improperly in such meetings. These memos are, in technical legal terms, called “C-Y-A” (I jest, but not too much).

Comey felt compelled to write a C-Y-A memo every time he interacted with President Trump. The head of the FBI felt that Trump was manipulative, using pretense to gain a “patronage relationship,” and ignoring every fence and guardrail of proper lines of communication to achieve a particular result.

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.

At an oval office meeting on Feb. 14, attended by at least four high-ranking lawyers (Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and Comey), the president dismissed everyone, including Comey’s boss, AG Sessions, to talk to Comey alone. Not only is this beyond awkward, it’s also completely improper.

Alone with Comey, Trump said he wanted to talk about Mike Flynn, who had resigned one day earlier.

The President then made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information – a concern I shared and still share. After he had spoken for a few minutes about leaks, Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him. The President waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly. The door closed.

The cringes and breath-holding in that hallway had to be excruciating. It paints a picture of a man whom everyone is scared to tell “this is a really bad idea,” lest they invite the rage of Poseidon on themselves.

The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” I replied only that “he is a good guy.” (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would “let this go.”

The president that Comey came to know better than the man who appointed him to office–President Obama–is, to him, a man who cannot be trusted. He’s a man who doesn’t know the boundaries of his own office, or the reason certain actions or statements are simply wrong or unethical.

To Comey, this is a man who values personal loyalty, relationships, and image over truth or integrity. Why else would Comey feel compelled to document, as close to the event as possible, every single conversation with Trump?

Whatever questions follow this positively devastating statement by Comey at Thursday’s hearing, every lawyer, government official, or potential appointee under Trump has to get the message. To paraphrase: Be careful dealing with this man, as he’s a worried, clueless, untrustworthy man who will try to manipulate you into compromising yourself.