Comey 1/27/17: The President [Donald J. Trump] began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to. He said that lots of people wanted my job and, given the abuse I had taken during the previous year, he would understand if I wanted to walk away. …
Comey thought it “strange” that after President Trump had previously stated twice (or thrice) that he “hoped” Comey would stay on as FBI Director, nevertheless Trump seemed to believe that the issue was still up in the air on January 27.
That should have been a clue to a perspicacious investigator like Comey that when Trump said that he “hoped” for something, it wasn’t a done deal: Trump hoped that Comey would decide to stay, but Trump respected Comey’s right to make the decision and was only waiting to hear what Comey had decided.
Rather than understanding that Trump was awaiting Comey’s decision, Comey chose to create a biased and seemingly paranoid-delusional assumption about what Trump seemed (to Comey) to mean:
I could always be wrong but my common sense told me what was going on is, either he had concluded or someone had told him that you didn’t, you’ve already asked Comey to stay, and you didn’t get anything for it. … and so I’m sitting there thinking wait a minute three times we’ve already, you’ve already asked me to stay or talked about me staying. My common sense, again I could be wrong but my common sense told me what’s going on here is, he’s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job.
Note the bias? Comey seemed primed to look for ulterior motives, rather than to take Trump’s words at face value. If he didn’t know what Trump meant, why didn’t he just ask? Note how his busy little mind worked.
Consider how Comey went into his very first meeting with Trump, while Trump was still President-elect, assuming that the future president would “lie” about their conversation at some point in the nebulous future.
Question by Senator Warner: What was about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record?
COMEY: A combination of things. I think the circumstances, the subject matter, and the person I was interacting with. Circumstances, first, I was alone with the president of the United States, or the president-elect, soon to be president. The subject matter I was talking about matters that touch on the FBI’s core responsibility, and that relate to the president, president-elect personally, and then the nature of the person. I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document.
What exactly did Comey mean by “the nature of the person?” Why was he so “concerned” that Trump “might lie about the nature of” their meeting? Who did he imagine would be asking? That meeting was requested by Comey himself and Comey himself chose to make the meeting one-on-one.
Comey’s stated fear was that he would, in some nebulous future, find himself in a “he said/he said” situation over his very first conversation with President-elect Trump, and that fear caused Comey to “immediately” document his impressions of the conversation. So we’re to believe that Comey went into his very first meeting with now-President Trump assuming that he’s a liar!
Upon what did Comey base this assumption? He’d never met the man before. Is this the attitude that We the People hope to see in a supposedly unbiased, nonpartisan public servant, as he’s meeting the man that We the People just legitimately elected, the man who is Comey’s future boss?
This early clue as to how Trump uses the word hope should have tipped this perspicacious investigator off to what Trump actually meant when he said two and a half weeks later that he had “hope” that Comey would decide to absolve Michael Flynn.
Comey 2/14/27: 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.”
Yet again, Trump was obviously leaving the decision up to Comey and respecting the fact that it was Comey’s decision to make. Instead, Comey chose to believe that Trump had a nefarious purpose other than the clear meaning of his words. Perhaps it was the penumbra.
I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December.
Obstruction of justice!
However, Andrew McCarthy explains that even if President Trump was “requesting” or even ordering Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn, it’s perfectly within his Constitutional authority, and so the element of corruption, required by the obstruction of justice statute, is absent:
The FBI and Justice Department are not an independent branch of government. They are subordinate to the president, and he gets to prod and even order them to do things. We hope there is not an excess of political interference with the day-to-day enforcement of the laws, because that would undermine public confidence in the system on which the rule of law depends — and thus it would probably be impeachable. But nevertheless, the president absolutely has the authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion.
A legitimate exercise of executive power cannot be corrupt. A president does not corruptly impede an investigation by deciding that the equities weigh in favor of halting it. That is a decision the president gets to make.
Obviously, common sense will tell you that President Trump seemed content to express his hope and leave the decision in the hands of Comey and the Dept. of Justice. Why did Comey take it to be otherwise?
Now we’ll talk about psychological projection, which is “the projection of one’s unconscious qualities onto others.” Consider what Comey avers was his own mindset when he (with the encouragement of others in the Obama administration) decided to brief President-elect Trump about the existence and imminent revelation of the infamous and scurrilous Russian-based “dossier” on Trump:
I was briefing him about salacious and unverified material. It was in a context of that that he had a strong and defensive reaction about that not being true. My reading of it was it was important for me to assure him we were not person [sic: personally] investigating him. … It was very important because it was, first, true, and second, I was worried very much about being in kind of a J. Hoover-type situation. I didn’t want him thinking I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way. I was briefing him on it because, because we had been told by the media it was about to launch. We didn’t want to be keeping that from him. He needed to know this was being said. I was very keen not to leave him with an impression that the bureau was trying to do something to him. So that’s the context in which I said, sir, we’re not personally investigating you.
Consider the above quote in the context of Comey’s biased and false assumptions about President Trump, his prejudice against Trump, let’s say. (For example, Comey’s assumption that Trump asked him to dinner just to “get something in exchange” for letting him keep his job).
You be the judge.