The most startling revelation from fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony this week was his barefaced admission that he intentionally leaked details of his private conversations with the president to the press in an effort to prompt the appointment a special counsel.
When asked Thursday by Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine whether he shared the memos he wrote about his conversations with President Trump with anyone outside the Department of Justice, Comey answered:
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter – didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons – but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
This statement is tremendously important because it completely delegitimizes Robert Mueller’s so-called independent investigation and reveals it as poisoned fruit.
The truth is, Comey behaved exactly like a bitter employee who had just been fired. The common thread in his testimony was that his firing was everyone’s fault but his own.
Think about it: Comey was the top law enforcement officer in the nation before he was fired on May 9. Had he felt a special counsel was necessary to investigate possible Russian influence in the 2016 election, he could have requested one from Congress at any time. If he felt his conversations with President Trump warranted additional attention, he could have approached Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about it.
But instead he decided to do nothing. Comey apparently didn’t think there was need for a special counsel until the Monday after he was fired, according to his testimony.
In a clear act of retaliation, Comey went outside the system and shared secret information with the media via a college professor-friend, in a calculated attempt to inflict pain on the Trump administration. Further, he said he turned all his memos about his conversations over to the special counsel upon his termination – so Mueller’s investigators already had all they needed to make their own decisions.
But Comey knows that the press feed off attacking Trump. He also knows that they have an incomplete, false understanding of the Russia investigation and would therefore gladly perpetuate the false narrative that Trump was somehow under investigation. He saw a chance to cause drama, and he took it.
Yet this is the same person who on Thursday, under oath, exonerated Trump on the Russia question. Collins asked Comey two very direct, simple questions. She asked, “whether there was any kind of investigation about the President underway” and “was the President under investigation at the time of [Comey’s] dismissal on May 9?”
For both questions – under oath – Comey answered “no.”
This kind of petty vindictiveness is so unbelievable, I wouldn’t even write this type of stuff in one of my novels. The truth is, Comey behaved exactly like a bitter employee who had just been fired. He said nasty things about everyone from President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who served the Obama administration. The common thread in his testimony was that his firing was everyone’s fault but his own.
But there’s another wrinkle in this story: Comey and Mueller are very close.
Throughout his testimony, Comey described Mueller as “one of this country’s great, great pros,” called him “the right person” to lead the Russia investigation, and said “Bob Mueller is one of the finest people and public servants this country’s ever produced. He will do it well. He is a dogged, tough person, and you can have high confidence that, when it’s done, he’s turned over all the rocks.”
When Senator John Cornyn asked whether anything Comey had testified would “impede the investigation of the FBI or Director Mueller’s commitment to get to the bottom of this,” Comey stressed that the appointment of Mueller was “a critical part of that equation.”
Let’s also not forget that 97 percent of campaign donations from Department of Justice employees went to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The culture and people at DOJ are predisposed to be hostile to President Trump.
So, what we have here is a fired FBI director, who leaked private material to the press, so he could get his friend appointed as a special counsel in order to take retribution on the President – with the aid of a department full of federal lawyers who would have rather seen Hillary in the White House. And we are supposed to believe this will be an objective, unbiased investigation?
Comey’s testimony – and the situation he orchestrated around it – really show the depths to which the deep state will go – working around Congress, outside of even the federal process – to damage and undermine President Trump. And it perfectly illustrates how sick the system has become.
In my new book, “Understanding Trump,” which will be released Tuesday, I describe deep state operatives like Comey as the permanent opposition. They will stop at nothing to mar the Trump presidency in order to keep their influence.
Make no mistake: This is not about law and order, it is not about justice, it is not even about any investigation. This is about influence peddling, this is about the search for vengeance, and this is about stopping the revolution President Trump was elected to implement.
This is everything that sickens normal Americans about the swamp.
America is on a knife’s edge. The question is now whether Republicans in Congress will have the courage to stand with President Trump and fight the deep state that was personified in Comey’s testimony Thursday.
Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich. His latest book is "Understanding Trump."