The much-anticipated day had finally arrived. Democrats breathlessly awaited the testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey, certain that his testimony would topple Trump.
But high hopes turned to dashed dreams when Comey’s testimony cleared President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE. Not only did the testimony vindicate the commander in chief, it included a startling revelation that Obama-era Attorney General Loretta Lynch attempted to influence the criminal investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump defends indicted GOP congressman GOP lawmaker says he expects to be indicted over FBI investigation Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on MORE.
Here are the five facts that emerged from the Comey hearing and shattered Democratic dreams:
There was no investigation into President Donald Trump
Comey’s written statement confirmed that on three separate instances he told the president “we were not investigating him personally.” Again, in open session, he emphatically testified “[t]here [was] not a counterintelligence investigation of Mr. Trump” during his tenure. He agreed to calling that “a fact we can rely on.”
It appears the Democratic demonization of Trump is thus far unfounded.
The mainstream media accusations of Russian collusion were inaccurate
On Feb. 14, The New York Times reported based on infamous anonymous sourcing “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence.” Today, we learned that story “was not true,” in the words of Comey.
In fact, the story so upset Comey that he surveyed the intelligence community to see if there was something he was missing. He took the extra step of seeking out Republican and Democratic senators to say that the article was not factual.
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Comey went further in his testimony pointing out the problem with the media’s anonymous source reporting. “The people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on,” he said, later adding, “[T]here have been many, many stories reportedly based on classified information … especially about Russia that are just dead wrong.”
It makes one wonder how many other fake news stories are floating around.
No one ordered Comey to stop an investigation
Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDemocratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase MORE bluntly asked Comey, “[D]id the president at any time ask you to stop the FBI Investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections?” “No,” Comey replied. Comey then went on to confirm that no one working in the administration asked him to stop the investigation either.
With regard to the investigation into Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Comey alleges Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go….” Comey claims he took this as a “direction,” though he gave a plethora of excuses for why he did not confront Trump about what he viewed as an inappropriate directive. He didn’t have “presence of mind” or “strength,” he claimed, before ultimately claiming he just “doesn’t know” why he did not stand up to the “direction.”
But as Sen. James Risch pointed out, “You may have taken it as a direction, but that’s not what he said.” Comey was forced to say, “correct” and admit that Trump did not direct him in his exact words. “Not in his words, no … those words are not an order,” Comey admitted. Comey was ultimately forced to concede that no one has ever been charged with obstruction of justice for “hoping” something.
Comey’s admission that he was not ordered to drop the investigation aligns with Wednesday’s testimony from NSA Director Mike Rogers and DNI Director Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race Cyber preparedness could save America's 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' MORE. Rogers testified, “I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate.” Coats likewise said, “I have never been pressured” nor have I “felt pressure to intervene.”
No votes were altered in the 2016 election
Attorney General Lynch tried to influence the Clinton criminal investigation
Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch rightfully came under heavy fire for secretly meeting Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Is Wall Street serving its own interests by supporting China's? MORE on a tarmac just days before his wife, former Secretary of State and presidential contender Hillary Clinton, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the FBI. Today, we learned Lynch tried to influence Comey by asking him to call the criminal investigation a “matter,” not an “investigation.”
The request “confused me and concerned me,” said Comey, who saw this as an effort to ask the FBI to coordinate its messaging with a political campaign.
Taken together, when pushed on providing evidence of Russian collusion over the past few months, Democrats like Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel Feinstein Ban on new offshore drilling must stay in the Build Back Better Act Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Jane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California MORE were forced to admit they had none. “Newspaper stories,” she cited last month to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. The same newspaper stories Comey called into question today.
Evidence-free accusations are dangerous and irresponsible. Today’s Comey hearing should serve as a valuable lesson to Democrats: When you proffer conclusions without evidence, it will come back to bite you.
Hillary Clinton has blamed her election loss on the Russians, among many other scapegoats. While Comey admitted Russian attempts to influence the U.S. election, he flatly concluded that no votes were altered in the 2016 election.
Kayleigh McEnany (@KayleighMcEnany) is a graduate of Harvard Law School. She completed her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and studied politics at Oxford University.
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