In many ways, that played out as I expected. In yesterday's post, I said you should watch the Republicans, who would do one of three things. We saw two of them, most of the time. Yesterday, I said that (1) the Republicans would pretty much ignore everything in Comey's written statement other than the "Trump was not personally under investigation," treat that as proof of Trump's innocence and shift to a media conspiracy, and (2) what about Hillary's emails? We didn't see anything about Rod Rosenstein, so oh well, but basically, it was pretty obvious what the Republicans on the committee would do.
In order to make that point, I emphasized how even those most egregiously wronged by Trump were singing that tune, and in yesterday's post, I mentioned that Lindsey Graham was belting it out with great enthusiasm.
So, yesterday, even "Little Marco" played along completely with tune number 1 on the Republican jukebox for how to handle Comey. Trump wasn't personally under investigation, and that's the same thing as being proven innocent. As I said yesterday, if even the people Trump treated most like shit in the primaries are doing this, the party will never, under any circumstances, turn on him.
My personal favorite, though, was when John Cornyn went full Sideshow Bob, and said that even if Trump tried to obstruct the investigation, the fact that it didn't, and won't work means that we should all just shrug. Attempted obstruction of justice. I mean, really, do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? (Sorry, I couldn't find a youtube clip, so just imagine Kelsey Grammer's voice)
However, the Trump Shill Award goes, not to Risch, to Tom Cotton, who seemed more interested in attacking Diane Feinstein's appearances on the Sunday talk shows than in anything else. I bet he aced his courses at Trump University!
As a side note, John McCain is senile.
What I really want to say this morning, though, is that we need to talk about the word, "liar." Journalists, and a lot of commentators try to avoid the word, "lie," or any modification thereof. Comey didn't. I've been critical of Comey, but I have to give him credit for the fact that he didn't shy away from the fact that Trump is a fucking liar.
Now, there are two sides to this. He called Trump a liar for disarray in the FBI, but, um, the FBI was a mess during the campaign. There was a New York FBI office responsible for a disproportionate number of anti-Clinton leaks, and one of the difficult-to-verify reports was that Comey pulled his October stunt because he thought it would be better coming from him than that New York office in an anonymous leak. Then, of course, there was Rudy Giuliani hinting at something big that they had up their sleeves, two days before Comey's letter. That could have been just bullshit bluster, or it could be that there really was collusion between Trump's campaign and someone at the FBI, and perhaps Comey really was trying to short-circuit an anonymous leak from that rogue New York office. So, the FBI in disarray? That may have actually been true. Comey may have been a liar there when he called Trump a liar. Trump may have actually been... telling the truth.
However, Trump is a bigger liar, by far, and it is important to note that Comey took notes for reference because he knew that Trump is a fucking liar, and Comey wanted documentation. And he said so, bluntly. It bothers me that people shy away from the word, "lie." It gives cover to liars. And Trump is about the most shameless liar I've ever seen. The closest I have met in my actual life, I... kept documentation, so I totally get Comey here. Seeing liars rise to positions of power is... frustrating, and we tolerate liars far too easily. Funny how part of it is how we shy away from even calling them liars. We shouldn't. Comey didn't.
And here is where I get frustrated. Nobody pressed him on it in questioning. Why? Because of what I warned you about yesterday. Strutting peacocks. They all had prepared questions, and none of them were willing to deviate. I deviate. I improvise. I love jazz. Hey, it's Friday! Jazz today! (Well, jazz every day, but I post jazz on Fridays). Someone really should have pressed him on the fact that he called Trump a liar, and asked him what it was about Trump, specifically, that made him think that Trump is such a liar. Comey said that he expected Trump to lie. Someone should have asked him why. Someone should have asked him which statements in the past made him think that Trump was likely to lie. Someone should have asked him which past actions made him think that Trump was likely to lie. I would have been fascinated by Comey's answers.
But, no. The Democrats couldn't be bothered to deviate, even though they had a golden opportunity. We have a President who, more than anyone I have ever seen, lies, and does so brazenly, shamelessly, needlessly, stupidly, and badly. Yes, badly. His lies are so transparent that it baffles me how anyone can ever be taken in by them. During the "Assessing democracy..." series, I referenced Neil Gaiman's American Gods (the book-- the series wasn't on the air yet), and Mr. Wednesday's favorite con, which was elaborate and capable of taking in someone who isn't a complete fucking moron. I contrasted it with the Nigerian Prince email scam, which you would have to be "professional wrestling is real" stupid to buy. Trump's lies are so transparent that they are equivalent to the Nigerian Prince scam, and yet the number of people in this country who won't even use the word, "lie," to describe them astonishes me. And nobody on the Democratic side wanted to get Comey to open up about that. Why? They had prepared questions.
What a waste.
And of course, I must finish this post by pointing out that whatever discomfort Comey had, and whatever distrust Comey had for Trump, DUDE PUT THAT FUCKING ASSHOLE IN THE WHITE HOUSE. Comey's October stunt, based on total bullshit, moved the polls by around 3 points or so (best guess right now). Take that away, and Clinton would be in the White House. Sure, we'd be having debt ceiling fights, and shit like that. Clinton's personal paranoia could lead to all sorts of problems besides. Things would not be fine. You know what we wouldn't be doing right now? Worrying about Russian compromise of the executive branch (Sally Yates was pretty clear about Flynn's potential for blackmail, if nothing else), or whether or not a psychotic idiot will nuke the planet because somebody somewhere made a joke about his hand size. And besides, these fucking idiots might breach the debt ceiling anyway. Remember-- idiots. And that's all on Comey. So, it's hard to feel too sorry for the guy who created this mess when he violated DoJ policy by making a public announcement that would influence the outcome of an election based on obvious bullshit.
Still, somebody should have pressed him yesterday on why he thought that the person he put in the White House is such a fucking liar.