When President Trump fired James Comey as the director of the FBI on May 9, many Americans suspected foul play. At the time, the former FBI Director had been investigating the link between Michael Flynn and Russia. Some believe that President Trump fired Comey because he refused to drop the Flynn case.
On June 8, Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his meetings with the president while he was still the Director of the FBI. Comey had previously recorded his encounters with Trump in memos.
While the testimony went smoothly, it was less than ideal for people who wanted proof that there was foul play on the part of Trump.
Comey should have been more severe in his comments, and should have leaned more towards convincing the public that there was obstruction of justice.
While it is not in his legal right to explicitly state that there was an obstruction of justice, stating belief that there was is legal and would have gone a long way.
Statements from Comey
While Comey might not have explicitly condemned Trump for obstruction of justice, he did make some jarring claims that could potentially hurt the president’s credibility.
In one instance, Comey stated that he kept memos out of fear that the president might lie, and that this was the first president that he truly did not trust. Comey also said that he feels like Trump and the White House defamed him post-firing.
Most importantly, the former Director of the FBI stated that he himself believes he was fired due to the Russia Probe, which could be considered obstruction of justice, although Comey did not explicitly say so.
However, Comey did state that he does not have the legal authority to say that what happened between the president and himself was an obstruction of justice. Some right-wing representatives claim that Trump did not do anything wrong aside from simply "hoping" that Comey would drop the case.
What Comey could have said
People hoped that Comey’s open testimony would be the final piece in the Trump impeachment puzzle, but his testimony was too cautious to warrant impeachment. What could have been Comey outing Trump for good was instead Comey simply voicing criticisms.
If Comey did not trust the president, he could have been more persistent when dealing with the representatives that attempted to defend Trump, and tried to hold his own, rather than agree to misleading statements.
For example, Comey should have mentioned the idea of subtext when he was pressed on the president's "hoping that the case could be dropped" having been brought into the spotlight. "Subtext" meaning that while one thing is said, another thing is meant – in this case, "hoping" meaning "commanding."
If Comey believed he was defamed by the President, he could have been more upfront and revealed more information during the testimony, as he saved much of the defaming information for a closed session.
Finally, if Comey believed he was fired for the investigation on the Russia Probe, he would have realized that in this particular case, he could not be bipartisan, but rather try to dethrone a President that seems to only want what is best for him and not for the American public.
Comey should have been more forceful, and his lack of damning evidence might mean this testimony could be forgotten and deemed irrelevant in the future.