On Friday, January 6, FBI Director James Comey met with President-elect Donald Trump. His task was awkward; he needed to inform Trump that the FBI’s counterterrorism unit was investigating claims that Russia had embarrassing blackmail material on the billionaire real estate developer.
Something in Trump’s reaction disturbed Comey. “I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo,” he recalls in testimony prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee. The compulsion to record the conversation was fierce and immediate; Comey didn’t even wait to get back to his hotel. “I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting.” From then on, Comey began documenting all his meetings with Trump. “This had not been my practice in the past,” he says.
On January 27, Comey again found himself in a strange situation with the president, caught by surprise when a dinner invitation that originally included his family turned into Comey having dinner with Trump, alone, in the White House’s Green Room. Trump immediately asked if Comey wanted to remain in his job, and said many other people would want it — a request Comey found strange, as Trump had already asked him to stay on as FBI director, and Comey had already accepted.
“My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship,” Comey says. Trump would soon make that perfectly clear. “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” the president told his FBI director.
In subsequent meetings, Trump would ask Comey to “lift the cloud” Russia was casting over his presidency, to announce publicly that Trump was not being investigated, and to squelch the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s activities. In their final conversation, Trump asked for Comey’s cooperation, saying, “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” Comey says he did not know what “that thing” was. Shortly thereafter, Comey was fired.
Everybody's expecting a big show today when Comey testifies, but the smart money seems to be on Big-Nothing-Burger. Why does the guy telegraph his moves by releasing a kind of script before he shows up? He doesn't think anybody's going to confine themselves just to the points he outlined, does he? But then again, it's not likely for him to drop the big one in open session. But then again again, this guy has pulled some pretty horrendous shit in the not too distant past.
And wouldn't it be nice if one of the Press Poodles could manage to ask the question - Is any of this to be considered "usual and customary"?
So anyway, we see what we see today. And what we do know to be "usual and customary" is that we can count on the Poodles to sell us gigundous piles of car insurance and boner pills. This is USAmerica Inc - it's what we do.
Manage the expectations, and keep pushing Congress to do something honorable.