Now that the media circus around former FBI Director James Comey’s hearing about his recent firing has died down, here’s what you need to know.
At five different points during the hearing, Comey disputed Trump’s statements about their relationship, their exchanges, and the nature of the FBI during his tenure as director.
“Those were lies, plain and simple,” Comey said of the president’s claims that the bureau was chaotic and disorganized.
The infamous memo containing details of a conversation between the then-FBI director and the president was leaked by one of Comey’s friends, with the aim of getting a special prosecutor appointed:
James Comey leaked his 'memos' to the media via a friend before sharing with Congress- fulfilling the Dems wishes of a special counsel. pic.twitter.com/tBrUfwekpF— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) June 8, 2017
In the process of discussing the strategic leak, Comey eventually outed one Daniel C. Richman — a “friend” and Columbia Law School professor — as the source of the leak.
Daniel Richman, Columbia Law professor, confirms to me via email that he leaked the contents of the Comey memos— Kelsey Sutton (@kelseymsutton) June 8, 2017
And the ensuing search even led to the school’s faculty website crashing, the Daily Caller reports.
Not going to make lawmakers happy: Comey gave memos to Mueller and a copy to his friend - but not Congress despite demands of several panels— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 8, 2017
Answering a question from Richard Burr, R-N.C., the intelligence committee chairman, Comey said that it’s not up to him to determine whether Trump’s exchanges with him about the FBI’s investigation of former National Secuirty Advisor Mike Flynn constitutes an obstruction of justice:
Comey: It's "not for me to say" whether the conversation I had with the President was an effort to obstruct justice https://t.co/peztHrFxqV— CNN (@CNN) June 8, 2017
At National Review, Andy McCarthy breaks down what constitutes obstruction, and what doesn’t. He says “pressure” doesn’t fit into that equation.
When Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, asked if Comey had ever heard of anyone being charged with “hoping” something would happen, the latter responded in the negative:
Comey says nothing that happened between him & Trump re: Russia etc rose to level that caused him to consider resigning in protest.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 8, 2017
Comey - Trump only asked him about Flynn investigation, nothing else— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) June 8, 2017
Comey says this was the only investigation Trump asked about. This was it.— Rick Klein (@rickklein) June 8, 2017
The word was “sense.” Aside from his account of what the president actually said and asked him (regarding the few meetings and calls he had with the president), Comey gave several accounts of how talking to the president made him feel.
Comey says he could sense that Sessions and Kushner knew they shouldn’t leave the room and leave him alone with Trump when Trump asked— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 8, 2017
"I got the sense my job would be contingent on whether I would be loyal." Comey said about his conversations with President Trump— 8News WRIC Richmond (@8NEWS) June 8, 2017
When Trump made the request in the Oval office, Comey says he “didn’t have the presence of mind” to say the alleged request in question was inappropriate:
Comey on why he didn’t go to White House counsel: “I was a bit stunned and didn’t have the presence of mind” https://t.co/IkoAmgjyNh— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 8, 2017
Comey's "I was so stunned" explanation makes sense in the moment, with POTUS.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 8, 2017
But after the fact? Doesn't explain why he did/said nothing.
In one of the few legitimate bombshell revelations of the hearing, it turns out there actually was some confirmed election interference — on behalf of the Obama administration.
The recently fired Comey revealed that Obama administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch ordered him to downplay the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server to maintain classified emails. Comey stated to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Lynch directed him “not to call [the Hillary Clinton email investigation] an investigation, but to call it a “matter.” “And that confused me and concerned me,” Comey said.
Trump is disputing claims that he asked for loyalty from Comey. And a White House lawyer has issued a statement, saying that Thursday’s hearing “makes clear that the President never sought to impede” the FBI’s Russia probe.
WATCH: Trump lawyer says Comey finally confirmed publicly that the president was not under investigation in Russia probe pic.twitter.com/Lgh7lDJ2lh— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) June 8, 2017
Speaking to reporters about the event, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that conservatives should fight the temptation to be distracted by the high-profile hearing, and focus on real policy outcomes instead.
“There's a lot of noise, a lot of people lighting hair on fire on cable news television,” said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference, per The Hill. “Ignore the political circus and let’s focus on delivering results. We have an historic opportunity.”