Monday, June 12, 2017

Comey and the truth

Robert Reich

On the off-chance that you may run into a Trump supporter today (or be one yourself), you should be aware of the major right-wing spins to Comey’s appearance yesterday, and know the truth:

1. After Republican Senator Jim Risch’s asked Comey about a February 14 New York Times story alleging Trump associates had repeatedly communicated with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign, Comey’s answered: “In the main, it was not true.”

--- Pro-Trump media and the personal lawyer to Trump seized on this statement to attack all reporting on the issue. "NYT Story Debunked," was the headline on the Drudge Report. "Told you NY Times is fake news!," tweeted far-right internet personality Mike Cernovich. "That's what fake news is," Bill O'Reilly said. Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his radio show that Comey's testimony "busted" the Times, among other mainstream outlets, for "their fake news reporting."

--- Truth: The reporters behind that February 14 story write, “Multiple news outlets have since published accounts that support the main elements of The Times's article, including information about phone calls and in-person meetings between Mr. Trump's advisers and Russians, some believed to be connected to Russian intelligence.”

2. Comey's disclosure that he shared a memo of his conversations with Trump with a friend, a professor at Columbia Law School, who in turn shared the contents of the documents with the New York Times.

--- Bill O’Reilly tweeted: "Clearly, Comey is no fan of Trump and the big bombshell is that Comey leaked bad stuff about Trump to The New York Times." Breitbart's Matt Boyle wrote that Comey''s "open admission he orchestrated a potentially illegal leak puts him in serious potential trouble."

--- Truth: The memo was "unclassified," making the notion that Comey is in any legal jeopardy unlikely. Also, Comey had already been fired by Trump at that time, and Comey’s friend shared details with the Times only after Trump implied on Twitter that he had recorded conversations he'd had with Comey.

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