House Intel Report: Comey Testified FBI Agents Saw No ‘Physical Indications of Deception’ by Flynn
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There were plenty of questionable statements being peddled by James Comey during the media tour for his auto-hagiography, “A Higher Loyalty.” Between his contention that the memo he leaked through a Columbia University professor wasn’t really a leak to his contention that the infamous Russian tape might exist despite no actual evidence to that effect.
Of course, Comey wasn’t put under oath by George Stephanopoulos or Brett Baier, but the public might expect a man promoting a book called “A Higher Loyalty” and calling Trump a “leaker” and a “liar” to live up to his own personal standards. Until, of course, they realized that man was James Comey.
Comey’s statements during the book tour came under even more scrutiny after the House Intelligence Committee released newly unredacted portions of its final report on Russian collusion on Friday. The newly-unredacted portions include a statement Comey made about his testimony to the committee regarding his questioning of Michael Flynn.
According to Fox News, the newly unredacted portions reveal Comey testified that FBI agents didn’t initially believe Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor, was intentionally lying to them about his ties to Russia.
“Director Comey testified to the Committee that ‘the agents…discerned no physical indications of deception,” one newly-unredacted portion reads. “They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them.’”
The report also states that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made similar statements to the committee.
“Deputy Director McCabe confirmed the interviewing agent’s initial impression and stated that the ‘conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although (the agents) didn’t detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview … the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador (from Russia),’” the newly-unredacted portions reveal.
The “conundrum,” in this case, is that what Flynn told investigators directly contradicted what they knew he had said in a wiretapped conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn would later plead guilty to making false statements to investigators as part of the Mueller probe.
This wasn’t the first time it had been reported that Comey had made such statements about the investigation of Flynn during his testimony to the committee, but he had publicly denied making them.
“No, I saw that in the media,” Comey told Brett Baier during his appearance on Fox News last week. “Someone misunderstood something I said. I didn’t believe that and didn’t say that.”
Comey said made a similar statement to George Stephanopoulos during his interview with him. “I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Comey said regarding the reports, according to the Washington Examiner. “That — unless I’m — I said something that people misunderstood, I don’t remember even intending to say that. So my recollection is I never said that to anybody,”
Those statements don’t particularly hold water, however. Did the entire committee misunderstand what he said? Did he say something different that was simply left out? Why would Andrew McCabe confirm the exact thing he says he didn’t say before the exact same committee?
While there is a bit of Clinton-esque “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” weasel-wording in saying that a member of the committee somehow “misunderstood something I said” — putting the onus on the interpretation as opposed to the content of his testimony — the committee’s report is rather unambiguous as to what both Comey and McCabe had to say.
Compare the fully redacted version that came out last week to the mostly unredacted version that came out today. Do you see what DOJ/FBI tried to cover up? McCabe said they hadn't substantiated anything against Flynn, and the ambush of Flynn at the WH was directed by Comey. pic.twitter.com/6Fc9U3kVwM
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 4, 2018
Compare these two pages. The initial redacted version hid clear testimony that the FBI didn't think Flynn lied. McCabe: "The two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying[.]" And: "[N]ot [a] great beginning of a false statement case[.]" pic.twitter.com/MZNIHCGzPU
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 4, 2018
In other words, Comey’s statement was almost certainly a lie.
Now, I don’t exactly expect a mass clutching of pearls in America and points abroad over this revelation. Those involved in politics dissemble (and do so with great frequency) to project a more favorable impression of themselves and their pet causes. The issue at hand here is that the FBI director is supposed to be apolitical. That’s why their appointment is supposed to last 10 years — unless, of course, they resign the position, get dismissed by the president or kick the bucket.
James Comey is no longer FBI director due to his dismissal by the president. The reason behind the dismissal, while explicated with some variance by the administration, is that Comey essentially approached the position as a political animal, inserting himself into the center of everything the Bureau touched. That’s why he shouldn’t approach his firing with any great wonderment or enmity. He claims “A Higher Loyalty.” The problem is that, to James Comey, the highest loyalty he has is to himself, and everything he says has to bend — and, if necessary, defy — reality to that effect. No matter what you think about President Trump, it should be impossible for anyone not to realize that America has been done an enormous service by the removal of this man from the head of the FBI.
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