“I want loyalty.” “You will get honesty.” “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.”
The play on words continues: Should impeachment procedures against American President, Donald Trump, be initiated? I have an interest in US politics – since it has a bearing on our own – but claim no definitive understanding. Nonetheless, the ‘Comey Affair’ would seem to indicate reason for further consideration.
James Comey states – and there is no reason to disbelieve him – he began to record details of one-on-one meetings with Trump from as far back as 6th January. This was something new to the FBI Director; he felt no compunction to do the same following meetings with the previous President, Barack Obama, or his administration.
“I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward.”
A continuing factor that weighed on his decision was Trump’s need to have these confidential conversations. In the prior four years, there had been precisely two with Obama, whereas in the four months between 6 January 2017 and the day he was fired, 9th May, Trump had required no less than nine: four person-to-person and five by direct line telephone.
Even more than frequency, matters discussed disturbed the Director. He noted, especially, a dinner invitation on 27 January, stunned to find it was for just the two of them, with two Navy stewards entering the Green Room at pre-arranged times to serve them. He believes the goal of the meeting was “to have me ask him for my job, to establish some form of relationship based on patronage.”
Comey stated that twice Trump wanted him to declare his loyalty.
“I need loyalty; I expect loyalty,” he said.
There was an embarrassed silence until Trump returned to the subject. Comey recollects, “He then said, ‘I need loyalty.’ I replied, ‘You will always get honesty from me.’ He paused and then said, ‘That’s what I want, honest loyalty.’ I paused, and then said, ‘You will get that from me.'”
On the last occasion the two spoke privately, by telephone on 11th April, Comey recorded Trump saying, “‘I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.’ I did not reply or ask him what he meant by ‘that thing.’ I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.”
Comey appeared before a Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday 8th June. His testimony on the President’s attempt at creating a lackey of him was damaging, but perhaps not as much as his knowledge of Trump wanting him to ‘throw’ the FBI Russian investigation into meddling in the US election. Comey, for the time at least, held back on what he knows. In the meantime, on 28th June, the Senate Committee said it has reached an agreement for it to see the Comey memos of his Trump meetings. Will those notes contain information about the demand to drop the Russian inquiry?
The world waits with bated breath.
Is there enough on which to commence impeachment? Of course not, but it is certainly indicative of a President who is insecure and in need of people around him who feel a sense of obligation towards him. Does Comey tell fibs or enhance information? Doubtful. He would never be put in a position of such power and intelligence and accepted by both sides of politics if that were so.
My thanks to reports on Reuters, ABC Radio and CNN for information used.