Competing realities: What James Comey said vs. what Donald Trump has said
Ex-FBI director James Comey testified at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, just one month after he was fired from his position by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The hearing is investigating Donald Trump’s campaign’s alleged ties with Russia, a subject Comey is familiar with since the FBI has its own investigation into Trump’s campaign ties.
The resulting testimony was completely at odds with Trump’s previous statements on the matter.
It’ll be up to the U.S. Congress to sort out these competing realities.
Here’s how Comey’s testimony matched up to Trump’s statements:
On Russian involvement in Trump’s 2016 election campaign
TRUMP: “I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.” (May 11, to Lester Holt on NBC)
COMEY: “There should be no fuzz on this. The Russians interfered in our 2016 election cycle” (June 8, to the Senate Intelligence Committee)
On the reason Comey was fired:
COMEY: Guess I don’t know for sure. I believe the — I take the president at his word, that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. (June 8, to the Senate Intelligence Committee)
TRUMP: Look, he’s a showboat. He’s a grandstander. (May 11, to Lester Holt on NBC)
On the state of the FBI:
TRUMP: “The FBI HAS been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil — less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.” (May 11, to Lester Holt on NBC)
COMEY: “Those were lies, plain and simple, and I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them and I’m so sorry that the American people were told them. “ (June 8, to the Senate Intelligence Committee)
On the dinner shared between them:
TRUMP: “He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on…. A dinner was arranged, I think he asked for the dinner.” (May 11, to Lester Holt on NBC)
COMEY: “And then he said, how about 6:30? And I said whatever works for you sir. And then I hung up and had to call my wife and break a date with her. I was supposed to take her out to dinner that night.” (June 8, to the Senate Intelligence Committee)
So who should we believe? Comey himself got asked that very question at Thursday’s hearing.
COMEY: “Well for any witness, you look for consistency, track record, demeanour, record over time that sort of thing.” (June 8, to the Senate Intelligence Committee)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, Deputy White House Press Secretary: “I can definitively say the president is not a liar. I think it is frankly insulting that question would be asked.” (June 8, to reporters after Comey’s testimony)
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