1. A Battle Loyal
We expected counter-punches. But instead, there was silence. Americans anticipating a series of live-Tweets from the Oval Office as James Comey delivered his testimony to the Senate, were instead left waiting nearly 46 hours between Tweets—the longest presidential Twitter drought since Inauguration Day—for a missive that, by historical standards, was relatively subtle (all-caps deployed only once, a single exclamation point, no grammatically mysterious quotation marks, and a cool 36 characters to spare). In that Tweet, the Trump legal strategy was rolled out: Accuse Comey of lying, and attack him for leaking: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” The president’s legal team filing a complaint against Comey is Trump 101. But Comey is not their usual foe. And this is all just getting started. From Slate: James Comey Came Prepared.
+ WaPo: Were James Comey’s leaks lawful? (Spoiler alert: Yeah.)
+ “It should have been more shocking than it was, but on some level, Americans were used to it.” The Atlantic: James Comey’s ‘Shock and Awe’ Testimony.
+ Paul Ryan: “The president’s new at this. He’s new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between [the Justice Department], FBI and White House. He’s just new to this.” While Trump is claiming vindication, other Republicans seem to be issuing a different defense: A Naif in the Oval Office. (Seems like a stretch: “Everyone, get out of the room. I’m about to do something I’m too naive to know is wrong.”)
+ During a brief Q&A with reporters, Trump suggested that Comey lied under oath. On the claim he asked for the case against Flynn to be dropped: “I didn’t say that. And there’d be nothing wrong if I did say it.” He also said he would be 100% willing to testify under oath.
+ If you were the creator of a TV crime series, what would you see as the key plot points? The Wire’s David Simon with an interesting take, via, what else, a tweetstorm. (My guess is this reference to The Wire is about as close as we’ll get to the Trump/Comey tapes that keep being referenced.)