Millions of Americans watched transfixed as James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, and no, that’s not an oxymoron. To say the reaction was mixed is like intimating that pillowcases stuffed with live eels are not conducive to long naps.
The general consensus was there were no bombshells. Or rocket-propelled grenades. There wasn’t even a cherry bomb. Just a couple of those tiny firecrackers that sort of fizzle and spin on the ground, then die out after two and a half hours of accusing the president of lying like a rug.
Here’s what happened:
1. One guy (Donald Trump) asked another guy (James Comey) to stop investigating his friend (Michael Flynn).
2. The second guy didn’t stop investigating the first guy’s friend.
3. The first guy fired the second guy.
Of these three rather unseemly facts only the first remains in dispute.
Liberals allege Comey proved that President Trump obstructed justice and are preparing for an impeachment trial commencing around Father’s Day. Conservatives maintain the former FBI Director revealed he leaked important documents and a criminal trial is imminent. And oh yeah, isn’t it time to restart the Hillary Clinton email investigations?
It boils down to whether you believe Comey’s story that the country’s chief executive cornered him in the Oval Office and said he hoped the Flynn investigation would go away. Or if you believe the president, who says he didn’t. And even if he did, it wouldn’t matter. But he didn’t.
A major factor in this “he said/ he said” squabble is a credibility gap the size of the Louisiana Purchase. The ambitious Jimmy Stewart, Boy Scout prosecutor versus the bombastic, make-stuff-up-as-he-goes-along real estate developer. Do you trust the man who even his enemies admit is the quintessence of probity, or the man whose own family warns people to take what he says with a grain of salt the size of Mount Olympus?
Comey said he told Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III he didn’t want to be in a room alone with President Trump. Many women have expressed similar sentiments. Perhaps the president was eyeing him salaciously while popping Tic-Tacs.
After the hearing, The Donald crowed he was vindicated and tweeted “Comey’s a leaker.” Some anticipated the deposed feeb would respond in kind, but alas, Comey don’t play that.
When asked if Trump had taped their conversation Comey blurted rather endearingly, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” But the president, when asked about the existence of recordings, said, “I’ll tell you in a very short period of time,” which makes no sense. It’s a yes or no question. It doesn’t require further study. Although, we wouldn’t want to discourage such activity.
In his defense, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the president is new to this sort of thing and doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s still got his training wheels on, and has only had a couple of at bats at Presidential Spring Training. According to Ryan, Trump isn’t quite housebroken yet. Meanwhile, he’s peeing on all of our shoes.
Who’s surprised? Trump has entered his eighth decade. Pretty sure his learning curve doesn’t have many more bendy parts left in it. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hell, we just want this old dog to stop barking during the night and chewing off his own limbs.
Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former assistant roofer at the Abbey De Theleme in Bessemer, Michigan.