Former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee has the potential to change an already rubble-strewn political landscape, but the Republican National Committee is on the case, making efforts to shield the party from potential blowback by urging restraint until all the facts have come out.
Just kidding, they're in full Cover-Trump's-Ass mode. And let me tell you, that's a lot of ass to cover.
After Comey's opening statement was released, the RNC responded with a “clever” tweet indicating there was “no substance” to the seven pages of damning testimony but then sent three pages of single-spaced talking points for Trump supporters to flog on Comey Day (soon to be a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington).
Most of the talking points are either completely fallacious (“Director Comey And His Deputy Have Admitted Under Oath There Was No Obstruction,” debunked yesterday) or completely irrelevant (“Firing Director Comey was perfectly within the right for the President to do”), but the futility of their exercise was underscored by the section in which they detailed Comey's “Long History Of Blatant Contradictions And Misstatements.”
Perhaps Trump's tiny hands have given the RNC a distorted view of what the word “long” means, but here is the entirety of that section:
Director Comey Has A Long History Of Blatant Contradictions And Misstatements:
- To prove he was not right for the job, look no further than the story that came out last week claiming Director Comey acted on Russian intelligence he knew was fake during the Clinton investigation.
- And last month, the FBI was forced to correct false testimony from Director Comey regarding basic facts about the Clinton investigation.
- Not to mention the numerous examples of mishandling of the Clinton investigation during 2016.
That final sentence fragment is telling, because the decision “not to mention” Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation probably has something to do with the fact that mentioning it would have reminded people how happy Trump had been about it at the time.
As a political matter, this is extremely weak sauce, and the RNC would probably have been better served by saying nothing at all, or simply hammering the fact that Comey confirmed Trump's claim that he told him, three times, that he wasn't under investigation. Then, just walk away.
But as a moral and philosophical matter, the RNC's instinct to attack Comey and defend Trump in the face of mounting evidence he attempted to obstruct justice is inexcusable. The day is coming when Republicans will no longer feel emboldened to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump, and so we will wait to see what the RNC's talking points look like on Friday morning.