James Comey testified before the Senate this past week, and his hearing marked a pivotal moment for the Trump administration. He confirmed there was no formal FBI investigation into Trump's actions and gave details about his work experience with the president. After this hearing, college students witnessed a widening political divide on social media and the news, between those concerned with Comey's ethics for leaking his conversations with the President and those upset that the FBI has not conducted a formal investigation into Trump's alleged collusion with the Russian government.
Private Dinner and Discussion
First, Comey detailed his experience at a private dinner with Trump — he stated that Trump asked him whether he should keep his job or not, and was concerned that Trump's question was a precursor to establishing "some sort of a patronage relationship." After this, Comey noted that the president said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty," and noted that he felt highly pressured after Trump's conversation.
Oval Office Meeting
On February 14, Comey went to the Oval Office for a scheduled counter-terrorism briefing of the president with six other government employees. Trump ordered to speak to Comey alone after the meeting, and talked to him about Michael Flynn. The President said that Flynn had done nothing wrong by speaking with the Russians, saying, "He is a good guy and has been through a lot." Afterward, Comey prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about the former FBI director and spoke with Attorney General Sessions about the alleged leaks.
In March, the president made a formal call to Comey at the FBI office. Trump delegitimized the Russia investigations because he believed they were impairing his ability to carry out any executive duties. He asked Comey why there was another investigation about Russia; the FBI director proceeded to explain that both political parties were demanding more information about Trump's ties to Russia. Trump kept reiterating that he wanted to send a public message that "he hadn’t done anything wrong."
Other Important Highlights
Comey acknowledged that Trump's conduct should be subject to a formal investigation by the FBI in the future. However, he clearly affirmed that Trump's actions had not been investigated by the federal government.
Along with this, Comey admitted that he had orchestrated the leak to account for his conversation with Trump. He publicized his phone calls and meetings after the President had vocalized that there should be no tapes of the meetings. Comey urged for a special counsel to formally investigate Trump's collusion with Russia.
Trump's Reaction to Comey's Testimony
Trump stated that he would be willing to answer any questions from Robert Mueller regarding Russian meddling into the 2016 election. However, he neglected to say whether or not he had recorded his White House conversations with Comey; Trump insisted that Comey's testimony had cleared him of any wrongdoing. However, he also said that Comey lied under oath during the proceedings, which is a very serious accusation.
Trump's legal team is expecting to file a formal complaint with the Justice Department's inspector general next week, regarding details that the FBI director shared during his testimony.
Overall, Comey's hearing has revealed important information regarding Trump's opinions about Flynn and any future investigation into his administration's actions. They serve as an important point of discussion for college students interested in politics. Many students are frustrated that news outlets reported markedly different narratives about Comey's testimony, and this number is increasing as more are becoming aware of politics. Despite the disagreement about the ethics of Comey's actions, the American public is increasingly aware of the sharp media divide after his hearing, something important to keep in mind as new information is uncovered.
Lead Image Credit: Rich Girard via Flickr Creative Commons