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Comey Hearing: After No Smoking Gun, Trump Gets Time For Policy Pivot

Progressives hoped the Senate Intelligence Committee testimony from former FBI Director James Comey would offer a new bombshell against President Trump. Instead they got confirmation from Comey that Trump didn’t try to meddle with the ongoing Russia investigation. And they also got a reaffirmation from Comey that Trump himself wasn’t under investigation by the FBI.

What Comey did reveal is a president who tried to exert questionable pressure to protect his friend Michael Flynn. Did that pressure arise to the level of obstructing FBI investigations? Nope, according to not only Comey, but also acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers.

Trump has said he wants the truth to come to light in the Russia investigation; Comey himself noted in his written testimony,

“The President went on to say that if there were some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him.”

Comey is a slick political operator, evidenced by the fact that he chose to leak his memo of his Trump interactions–a memo that is reportedly government property created on a government laptop–to a Columbia University professor in order to provoke a special counsel.

As Comey testified:

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. And so I asked a close friend of mine to do that.”

If Comey believed that Trump obstructed justice, he was under legal obligation to report this concern rather than leaking it to some buddy. As Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) recently said:

Director Comey comes before the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. He had an obligation, I believe, to tell those committees because he was briefing us on the status of the investigation. I’m not aware of Director Comey ever saying to anyone in Congress – and I think Senator Burr concurred on this – about any interference in the investigation.

Did Comey’s testimony make Trump look bad? Yes. Did it make Trump impeachable for obstruction of justice? According to today’s hearing, no. The question now is whether Trump will move past the media circus and focus on the policies that will improve people’s lives. This is entirely possible, if Trump can discipline his White House, perhaps through a new chief of staff, for starters, and respect the boundaries of his power.

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