It was billed as the greatest show in town, rivalling what was supposed to be a nail-biting India-Pakistan cricket match. All TV remotes across America pointed to the Capitol Hill where a high political drama was unfolding….A special by Arun Kumar for Asian Lite News
Washington’s watering holes opened much before the regular noon hour, offering a ringside view of a fired bitter FBI chief James Comey lobbing an ‘L bomb’ at the POTUS on multiple TV screens.
An Irish Pub offered ‘Covfefe Cocktails’ celebrating the mysterious word invented by Donald Trump, the new sheriff in town to go with it.
Some proffered ‘Covfefe Coffee’ with free wifi for hooky players pretending to work. A Texas bar had ‘Impeachment,’ ‘Bad Hombres’ and presciently ‘Drop the Bomb’ on the menu.
Throwing Trump’s own words at him, Comey accused the President of firing him not to lift the “poor morale” at an “FBI in turmoil” due to his “mishandling” of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, but because of that “Russia thing on his mind”.
Branding White House’s “shifting explanations” as “lies, plain and simple,” the former top cop was left “confused” by his firing after being told he was “doing a great job.”
Yet Comey admitted that he had at the direction of then Attorney General Loretta Lynch relabelled the Clinton scandal “investigation” as a “matter” using a Clinton campaign formulation.
And then “confused and concerned” as he was, Comey used this very pretext to usurp the Justice Department’s authority in calling Clinton “extremely careless” and yet letting her go as if he were the only honest cop in town.
The POTUS, Comey claimed, had also sought a loyalty pledge at a one-on-one dinner at the White House a week after his inauguration. Instead he had offered “honest loyalty”, whatever that meant.
Then a day after firing his first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump after “kicking out” the Vice President and his chief of staff told him, “I hope you can let Flynn go. He is a good guy.”
But “so stunned” was he “by the conversation” that Comey didn’t tell the newly-installed President that it was an “inappropriate request.”
Nor did he report to his superiors at the Justice Department as he was required to do and simply jotted down an unclassified memo because he feared Trump “might lie about the nature of our meeting” one day.
Comey admitted that Trump did not ask him “in his words” to drop either the Flynn investigation or the broader Russia probe even as he took it as a “direction” that he intended to disobey.
Former president Barack Obama’s “prettiest” Desi former California attorney general Kamala Harris chipped in wondering if it wasn’t like “a robber held a gun to somebody’s head and said I hope you will give me your wallet”.
In late March, Comey testified, Trump again called him at the FBI to say the Russia probe was “a cloud” hanging over his ability to lead the country and asking “what we could do to ‘lift the cloud'”.
He promised to complete the probe “as quickly as we could” but would not say in public what he had assured Trump thrice in private that he personally was not under investigation to avoid a “J Edgar Hoover like situation”.
Yet Comey seemed to be following the path of the legendary FBI chief who infamously kept dossiers on all politicians as he brazenly admitted leaking his talks with Trump to the media through a friend hoping to trigger the appointment of a special counsel.
So who gained and who lost from the Comey show that according to a CBS estimate was watched by 26 million people costing about $3.3 billion in productivity?
It was a good day for elated Trump critics who smelled an “obstruction of justice” case against the novice President.
It wasn’t a bad day either for the tweeter-in-chief as Comey confirmed that Trump wasn’t under the FBI scanner and “in theory” the President could commit no crime in doing what he was accused of.
“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” fired a twitchy thumbed Trump on the morrow.
In far off Moscow, Vladimir Putin told filmmaker Oliver Stone: “I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days.” And with the Russia pot boiling in America, he is unlikely to have one anytime soon.