Thoughts on Comey Hearing

Joe Mack, Layout Artist

The highly anticipated testimony of James Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was dubbed as the ‘Super Bowl of Washington’ by numerous news organizations, occurred last Thursday, June 8th. In the hearing, ex-FBI director Comey endured 2.5 hours of questioning, from Democrats and Republicans alike, concerning his poorly timed termination from the Bureau. Over 19 million viewers from all across the country tuned in to watch Comey contextualize the events leading up to his May 9th firing by President Donald Trump, as well as to watch him further elaborate over the question of whether or not Trump obstructed justice during the Michael Flynn investigation.

In the coming days before the hearing, the event was advertised to the American people as the pivotal development in the Trump chronicles which would possibly be the first historic step that would lead to his impeachment. What the people got instead, however, was an example of just how limited the scope of the public discussion is concerning classified materials. It seemed as though every question containing some form of substantive answer received an “unable to answer that in an open setting” by Comey.

While this was unfortunate for those viewers who were expecting any real clarification regarding the obstruction of justice issue, it is important to note that theses weren’t realistic expectations of the hearing to begin with, as picking a side would do Comey a disservice in future legal proceedings.

Whenever asked by the senators on the committee whether or not Trump obstructed any justice, Comey did a masterful job not catering to any partisan rhetoric; neither giving the Democrats a smoking gun or letting Trump off the hook all together. He stated that the interpretation of his written and oral accounts of the discussions with Trump would be up to the special counsel appointed to handle the Trump-Russia probe, former FBI director Robert Mueller.

In the end, what this issue of obstruction of justice will come down to is whether or not Trump gave a directive to Comey to halt the investigation of Michael Flynn. In order to come to this conclusion, Mueller must judge the language use and intent of Trump from James Comey’s written accounts of their talks concerning Flynn and the Russia probe. The statement especially in question was during a one on one meeting with Trump and Comey in the Oval Office, where Trump stated: “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.”

My personal judgement from all of these events is that this will probably amount to nothing (no indictments, no impeachments, no further resignations, etc.). This judgement is purely based off of the evidence we have now, from Comey’s personal accounts, which paint Trump as a certainly unorthodox (to a fault) Commander in Chief, but fail to give a clear case of obstruction of justice.