Unless you’ve been living under a rock as of late, you’ve probably heard about former FBI director, James Comey, testifying about his controversial tenure during the 2016 election and particularly as the head of the FBI under President Trump. Today’s hearing is a chance for Comey to, essentially, publicly set the record straight. It’s safe to say that millions of people watched this spectacle and hoped that Comey would drop some juicy info. He didn’t, really, but this whole thing is a lot more interesting if you know exactly what’s going on. Frankly, that’s tough, because it’s such a big mess. But I’m here to make things a little simpler for you. Here are some quick and dirty facts about the Comey hearings that you need to know.
Why is Comey testifying?
Comey is testifying because he was fired as the director of the FBI. His firing is a huge deal, especially since it has only happened once before. In the ’90s, President Clinton fired the head of the FBI at the time due to personal financial issues (sup, tax evasion?), not political drama. But if you want political drama, consider a similar occurrence which happened decades earlier. A special prosecutor was investigating President Nixon’s Watergate scandal (you’ve heard of that, right?), and Nixon tried to get his Attorney General to fire him. The AG refused, and resigned. Follow up AGs were, subsequently, fired by Nixon until he reached someone who would fire the special prosecutor. This was such a scandal that it ultimately led to Nixon resigning, because he would have definitely been impeached for this nonsense otherwise.
Anyway, back to present day.
Comey’s sudden firing back in May was very sus, especially since FBI directors usually have 10 year terms. Comey was appointed FBI director in 2013, so he was barely in there for four years. Weird, right? Well, it gets weirder, so hold on tight.
Who fired him?
President Trump fired him.
Why did Trump fire him?
Well, here’s where things get wonky. The Trump administration initially suggested that Comey was fired because of the way Comey handled the Hillary Clinton private e-mail server fiasco during the 2016 election. This was unbelievable from the jump, because it was clear during the campaign that Trump was hoping Clinton would be thrown in prison for the e-mail drama llama.
Remember when he and his supporters would chant “LOCK HER UP!” at rallies? Yeah.
Except… Trump gave an interview after the firing stating that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he fired Comey.
What’s the Russia investigation?
There’s proof that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in the hopes of electing Donald Trump. This is just a fact at this point. Why would they do that? Frankly, Clinton was more of a hardass about Russia than Trump was, so it would work in their geo-political favor to have Trump as president than Clinton. Naturally, that’s a little sus, right? So members of the Trump campaign (including Michael Flynn, a name you’ve probably heard of) are subjects of an FBI investigation to make sure that there wasn’t collusion between Trump’s crew and the Russian government.
Wait…but didn’t Comey still work for Trump?
Ha ha, yeah…awkward, huh? Comey was basically launching an investigation against his own boss. Trump wasn’t cool with that, a fact he tweeted about constantly. But worse, it was revealed that Trump actively sought out Comey, asked him about the investigation, and encouraged him to drop the investigation entirely. Like, FBI directors do have meetings with the president, but very rarely. And yet, over the course of only a few months, Trump spoke one-on-one nine times to discuss the investigation. Some believe this screams obstruction of justice.
Er…what’s obstruction of justice?
You might have heard this term on some corny Law and Order rerun, but basically obstruction of justice occurs when someone actively tries to impede an ongoing criminal investigation. Trump actively trying to get the head of the FBI to stop investigating people in his inner circle screams obstruction of justice for many critics.
But why would Trump want to interfere?
Good question. We don’t know, but think about it: Why would someone–especially the president–who isn’t guilty of any sketchy behavior or wrongdoing risk obstructing justice if they didn’t do anything wrong? Things that make you go hmmmm.
So what did the hearing today prove?
Honestly, not much that wasn’t already revealed to the public: The president had several meetings with Comey about the Russian investigation before the firing. Comey knew these meetings were sus AF, so he took notes about these meetings because he figured Trump would lie about them. Also, it’s important that these hearings directly contradicted Trump’s side of the story.
Is there anything else I should know?
Well, someone made this:
lemme see that testifussy pic.twitter.com/tpKVCGZPp5
— The FADER (@thefader) June 7, 2017
What do you think of the Comey hearing? Do you think Trump should be impeached for obstruction of justice? Maybe some other sketchy behavior?