“Lordy, I hope there are tapes”
There has been no shortage of breaking news today as former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the U.S. Senate.
On Wednesday, The Senate shared Comey’s seven pages of prepared remarks and the collective response was largely a giant shrug. Sure, Trump sounded like the bullying narcissist we’ve come to expect, but none of his actions appeared to create a clear breach of the law. Well, anyone expecting Comey’s actual testimony to be a snooze was surely disappointed. And for the rest of the world, it’s a fascinating and at turns shocking series of revelations that shows no sign of slowing down.
1. Lies, lies, lies
Comey opened his remarks by saying Trump lied about how the FBI reacted to his termination. Earlier, Trump claimed morale at the agency was failing and that the FBI rank and file was relieved to see Comey go.
"The administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly the FBI, by saying the organization was poorly led," Comey said. "Those were lies, plain and simple."
2. Comey was the leaker
In the day’s biggest revelation, Comey admitted that he himself was the person who leaked his memos detailing his private conversations with President Trump. Comey gave the memos to a former associate to leak, saying he hoped the contents would trigger a special counsel investigation into the matter, something that has since come to fruition.
3. Straight up calls Trump a liar
Not only did Comey call out Trump’s description of his firing, he said the very reason he leaked the memos was out of fear Trump would lie about their meetings.
"I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting and I thought it important to document," Comey said.
4. What’s going ON with John McCain?
The senior Senator from Arizona became a viral sensation on Thursday for all the wrong reasons. His apparent confusion over the Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation led Comey to gently correct the senator, informing him that the cases were not only separate, but also completely unrelated. McCain also repeatedly referred to the former FBI head as “President Comey” on a number of occasions.
5. Trump’s lawyer pushes back
After Comey admitted he was behind the memo leaks, Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz put out a statement vigorously defending the president and attacking Comey.
"Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President," Kasowitz said in a statement. "We will leave it [to] the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated."
6. He was fired because of Russia
Comey says he has no doubt he was fired over the investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with their Russian counterparts. Despite acknowledging that Trump himself was never under investigation, Comey says his duties as head of the FBI did not sit well with the president.
"It's my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation," Comey said. "I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me.”
7. Release the tapes
Comey said that only President Trump knows if there were audio tapes made of their private conversations. And while Trump references tapes as a threat to Comey’s credibility, the former FBI director said he actually hopes the tapes exist and that they are released.
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said.