Let me try to put into a few hundred words the bottom-line meaning of James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee:
- The president of the US is a liar and cannot be trusted to speak the truth.
- The president is willing to sabotage the proper functioning of democratic governance—especially checks on executive power—in order to ensure that his will be done.
- Presidential obstruction of justice and abuse of power now rise to the top of investigative and political concern. Trump clearly directed Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn, made loyalty to him the condition of Comey’s continuation in office, and confirmed that Comey’s persistence in investigating the Trump-Russia connection was the ultimate reason for firing Comey.
- The president felt no urgency about or interest in the Russian threat to the US electoral system.
- Republicans will go to great lengths to undermine and trivialize Comey’s testimony. Their mission, as they see it, is to preserve the Trump presidency long enough, at least, to push through their major domestic legislation—health care and tax changes.
- No objective person can come away from this hearing believing that Comey, speaking under oath and with a long record of integrity in government service, is lying while the President, not under oath and with an even longer record of deceit, is telling the truth.