June 08, 2017 04:51 PM
Fired FBI director James Comey is making his first public statements since his May 9 dismissal in a hugely anticipated hearing Thursday.
KSTP Reporter Cleo Greene spoke with political analyst Steven Schier, from Carleton College, in advance of Comey's testimony.
Q: What are your overall thoughts about James Comey's written testimony?
A: "If you're looking for definitive stark evidence you're not going to find it in this statement. You will find a mix of things some of which are good for President Donald Trump and some of which are not. The fact that he said that he expects loyalty from his FBI director is an inappropriate statement to make, but it is not in and of itself indicate an action or intent to create a conspiracy to obstruct justice. What is also good for Trump is the fact that Comey did validate and support his argument that he was told that he was not under investigation. Trump wanted that constant reassurance. What Trump is really concerned about is himself and how he appears, that comes through very clearly in this testimony."
Q. Is fair to say the statements in the testimony are inappropriate, but not illegal?
A: "Comey himself believes, I think, that Trump's statements to him were inappropriate. Comey did not believe they were illegal and that is the main thrust of this testimony."
Q: What do you think the reaction will be from Republicans and Democrats?
A: "I think Republicans will play up the fact that some of Trump's statements were supported by Comey and this does not constitute obstruction of justice. Democrats on the other hand will say this moves in the direction of obstruction of justice and we await further revelation from investigator Robert Mueller who is exploring the Russian ties thoroughly."
Q: Do you think we will get more insight outside of the written testimony?
A: "I think what you will hear from Comey is sort of explanation around the statement as to what he thought was going on and the situation. He will add context to the statement and the context will be very helpful and understanding to see exactly what transpired. We also have to watch from tweets from our Chief Executive because they may tell us about his view of the situation and his place in the investigation.
"This will be a day of headlines, but it's far from the complete story. Robert Mueller who has an impeccable reputation as an investigator is examining all the possible Russia ties involving possibly the president or his associates and we really have to wait for that report which may take months, before we really understand the situation."
Q: What will happen next?
A: "What comes next is probably a bunch of anonymous leaks that have been occurring for many months. The Justice Department is starting to prosecute the leakers that they can identify. Many of these anonymous leaks are violations of federal law. There are potential security problem problems if all sorts of information is leaking freely especially in era of terrorism."
Updated: June 08, 2017 04:51 PM
Created: June 08, 2017 08:02 AM
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