Friday, April 20, 2018

Collusion, Obstruction, and James Comey

Former FBI Director, James Comey - A higher loyalty? Or self loyalty.
It’s a slow news day in the Jewish world. Not much to comment on. At least not that I care about. So I thought I would reflect a bit on current events with respect to the President.

I have very little sympathy for James Comey. He is currently on a book tour with a mission to sell a lot of books and glorify himself in the process. After watching some of the interviews he gave this week, I saw a man who was mostly self absorbed -  and cannot get over the shock of being fired as Director of the FBI.

I saw nothing that he said about Trump as damning. Certainly nothing about collusion with the Russians to subvert the election. Or even obstruction of justice. A lot of that was Comey’s own interpretation about what Trump said to him in his initial meetings as President or President-elect.

True, Trump’s request asking him for loyalty; or his request to cut some slack to his (at the time) recently fired National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn - might sound suspiciously like obstruction of justice. But that is a long way from proving intent. He did not exactly order him to do it. He asked him if he could see his way clear to doing it. It’s all in how you interpret his words.  Comey obviously  wants it to be seen as obstruction. That is how he has presented it.

The fact is, Trump’s communication skills are sorely lacking. Which leaves a lot of what he says open to interpretation. Which can go either way depending on which side of the political aisle you are on. (And tweets don’t really count. It’s almost as if he had an alternate personality - tweeting as an observer rather than as President.)

Bias is easy to see in Trump’s detractors when they are interviewed. What galls me the most, though, is their projection of righteousness of their views. As though it is - oh - so obvious how guilty he is of either collusion or obstruction. As if this is the way any normal person would see it.

And it doesn’t really help Trump’s image when practically the entire mainstream media so obviously plays right into that narrative about Trump  – without actually saying so and pretending to be objective.

Comey has been received as a near hero by the media and Trump’s enemies for ‘exposing’ to  the world just what a lying, immoral, and unethical individual Trump is. (…as if we don’t already know that.) But Comey’s bias is made obvious by the pettiness of his comments about Trump’s appearance. Those personal attacks clearly make his entire narrative suspect.

How ironic that this is the same man who is characterized as a hero - was seen as the devil by the same people: Clinton supporters who accused him of sabotaging her campaign. If this doesn’t show political bias, I don’t know what does.

I wouldn’t put any stock on Comey having any impact on Mueller’s investigation either. There is probably nothing in Comey’s book that Mueller doesn’t already know.

There has also been a lot of speculation that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen will ‘spill the beans’ on Trump when confronted with evidence that he violated laws that might end up in a long prison sentence -  unless he cooperates.

That should be put to rest by Mueller’s own comments. He has said that Trump is not the object of Michael Cohen’s investigation.

I realize that some people reading this will say that I have gone over to the ‘dark side’. That I am now a closet Trump supporter. That could not be further from the truth.  I have not changed my views about his character. They have only been reinforced. Time and again.

I stand by my view that, unlike President Obama, Trump is morally and ethically unfit to be President - much the same view Comey has. But at the same time unlike Obama - his foreign policy has been more favorable with respect to the UN, North Korea,  Syria, and Israel. And his domestic policy with respect to the economy has been mostly favorable too. So far.

I try to be objective and see things as they really are – and not how the media necessarily presents them.

I could be wrong, but I think Trump is here to stay for at least the duration of his first term. And perhaps even a second term. I know that Mueller is not done yet. I also know that he has not publicly commented about whether his committee will find Trump to be guilty of either collusion or obstruction. But I just don’t think he will. And we should just get used to it.