Regardless of how you might feel about James Comey, two things remain clear: he had genuine concerns about President Trump lying and he will not be walked all over.
During today’s Congressional hearing, there was a point when Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich, asked him why his testimony should be believed over the White House’s official account of what happened, and it directly addresses what was probably a general concern about whether his memos and subsequent testimony would become an issue of “he said vs he said”.
At that point, Comey replies: “You can’t cherry pick it“, referring to the fact that you have to put someone’s entire body of testimony under question and see whether it matches the facts. You can’t really pick and choose the parts that you like.
What Comey’s testimony appears to mean for the 45th President, from a legal perspective at least, is that he is in deep trouble. Trump, not necessarily a direct subject in the Russia investigation, acted with or without the advice of others, in favour of driving this investigation to a quick resolution, and in the course of that, it could be suggested that if his actions could be perceived “within common sense” to have indicated to James Comey that his continuity as an FBI Director was contingent to how he handled the Flynn investigation, then this pressure would amount to a form of coercion. Most importantly, Comey made very clear that he interpreted the words as a direction from the President.
However, Trump’s subsequent actions are what became most alarming and eventually appeared to verify the former FBI Director’s statements.
Not only did he fire Comey after that private exchange where it would seem that he had asked Comey for “loyalty” but he later confirmed over Twitter that the reason behind his firing was the handling of the Russian investigation.
Say whatever you want, Comey himself admitted to taking actions which facilitated the appointment of a Special Counsel for the remainder of the investigation which seem to indicate that he thought there wasn’t enough transparency and independence within the current US administration to guarantee justice to be served without the intervention of the White House.
There is one thing to remember, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is watching.