Thursday was a decidedly mixed day for President Trump, as his fired FBI Director testified on before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill. As we examined in detail, Comey dealt serious blows against several overarching anti-Trump narratives: Trump had been informed that he wasn't under investigation three times. Trump had not obstructed or impeded the Russia probe in any way. Trump did support the fundamental goals of that investigation, including the acknowledgment that it would be 'good to find out' if anyone on his team were guilty of wrongdoing. The mainstream media did blow key stories about the saga, which fueled public hysteria. But as I said on Fox's bonus midnight edition of Special Report last night, while there are certainly significant developments for Trump supporters to highlight coming out of yesterday's proceedings, it's quite a stretch to spin the day as an overall win for the president:
While under oath, a high-ranking career law enforcement professional called the president a liar -- very explicitly, with examples provided -- and left viewers with the clear implication that the Special Counsel is looking into obstruction of justice over this (technically alleged) conversation, which Comey said he perceived as an effective order at the time. But early this morning, Trump fired up the Twitter machine after a long hiatus (by his standards) and claimed "total and complete vindication:"
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2017
Pair this response with his attorneys' maneuvering to explore punishing Comey for leaking the contents of his unclassified memo to the press, and it seems as though Trump has no interest in pursuing this path, which I believe would behoove him. Full vindication might finally come when Robert Mueller's work is complete; if Trump and his top associates are cleared in the Russia investigation, they'll deserve a good, hard football spike. The Left's consistent overreach and tenuous-to-baseless conspiracy-mongering will have set up Trump and friends for an epic 'we told you so.' But we're a long way off from that moment, as Comey hinted on several occasions yesterday. On this whole issue, the people most heavily invested in dueling narratives seem determined to one-up each other when it comes to overreaction and hyperbole. The president just escalated again, so I'm sure some prominent lefty will respond in-kind again soon enough. I'll leave you with something more useful -- namely, liberal law professor Jonathan Turley (featured briefly in the clip above) explaining that Trump's unseemly inappropriateness does not prove that he's committed impeachable crimes or abuses. "This is pretty thin soup" for that, he reasoned on MSNBC.
And for what it's worth, another respected liberal law professor, Alan Dershowitz, agrees:
We should stop talking about obstruction of justice. No plausible case. We must distinguish crimes from pol sins https://t.co/Us4QKJB55M
— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) June 9, 2017
As far as impeachment and obstruction are concerned at this point, Trump has the facts on his side, even if he looks like an ignorant, meddling boor. He should pound those facts, not delve into non-credible bravado. But he can't help himself.