As if the completely mind-blowing difference between the perceptions of people regarding anything involving Donald Trump needed any additional clarification, I submit to you the following.
James Comey testified before the Senate this morning. Within the past hour or so, now on Thursday evening, Charles Hurt of the Washington Times has authored a lead opinion piece on the Washington Times’ website with the following lead …
“Mark this down as the week Donald Trump won re-election.”
Yet another headline just released on that same website …
“A disgruntled employee fails to make the case against his old boss.”
That’s not even Fox News where that is coming from. I can only imagine what type of spin they are putting on today’s hearing. While I do occasionally monitor Fox News for as long as I can stomach it, I must admit I have not even ventured there today.
In case you are not familiar with the Washington Times, they are to the Washington Post and the New York Times, what Fox News is to CNN and MSNBC, i.e. pretty much blindly conservative.
I am not one to believe by any stretch that today’s testimony is anywhere near the so-called “smoking gun” that will convince supporters to finally jump off the Trump train. That most certainly still includes the vast majority of the Republican Congress. After all, they can’t abandon the man who gave us Gorsuch. I am also not naïve enough to believe that even if the Democrats had a majority in both houses, they could come close to being able to mount a successful impeachment in the House at this point.
The bar for high crimes and misdemeanors, obstruction of justice or abuse of power has been set so incredibly high (or low, depending upon your point of view), that it will take something much more to bring this to any type of head. Alternatively, Special Counsel Mueller’s inquiry will need to complete its investigation and make a very compelling case to both the public and to the Congress. And even in that event, short of Trump being proven to have personally assassinated Wolf Blitzer, I doubt that the Special Counsel’s recommendation will even be enough.
Funny how it always seems to get back around to “I could shoot someone in the street and not lose my voters”.
But notwithstanding that, today’s testimony by James Comey certainly had more than a few unique aspects.
Under oath before the U.S. Senate, and in front of the American public, Comey on multiple occasions specifically called Trump a liar – no sugar coating even like “he was not being truthful”. Uh uh. Comey said that he lied – straight out. Now given what we have seen and heard from Trump for years, even before he decided to run for President, someone saying that Trump is a liar is hardly Earth shattering news. But to have a pretty credible witness, whether you like Comey or not, call Trump a liar under oath … as Comey likes to say, “that’s a very big deal”.
That also now puts a great deal more pressure on Trump and on his defense team, or should I say defense individual – Marc Kasowitz. No tweets from Trump yet. That must be killing him. If he goes another six hours or so without tweeting, it will be the longest he has gone without tweeting since he was elected.
Back to Kasowitz for a moment. Today it has started to become obvious why many big Washington law firms turned down Trump’s request for representation. Kasowitz already appears to be out of his element. He looks just like what you would expect from someone whom Trump would hire to represent him – a lawyer who basically mirrors the expectations and directives of his client, rather than someone who provides sound recommendations and legal judgment. “The President feels totally vindicated by Comey’s testimony”. Really? I have a pretty strong feeling I know from whose mouth those words originated.
As if that alone didn’t do enough to damage Kasowitz’s credibility, he also totally botched an attempt to nitpick an element of Comey’s testimony. Kasowitz stated that Comey cited the President’s tweet about having those mysterious tapes as the motivation for Comey to ask his friend to leak his personal memo about Comey’s meeting where the President asked Comey to lay off of Mike Flynn. Comey did say precisely that. However, Kasowitz then also said that could not possibly have been true because the New York Times’ story about the memo came out the day before the President’s tweet. It turns out that is completely false. The New York Times article being referenced didn’t appear until four days after the President’s tweet. That should only have required some very basic fact checking. But, true to the example set time and again by his boss, it was apparently much more important to react quickly … rather than to react correctly.
It makes me think of a slight variation on an old legal axiom, “someone who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client”. In this Trumpian variation, “a lawyer who represents Trump … is just simply a fool”.
Not sure where the next stop is on this continuing story but I would suspect that Mike Flynn has yet to play a major role in it. To be continued.