BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission terminates Electric Works development agreement Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Comey gets real in CNN Town Hall

Former FBI Director James Comey got past the talking points and got real during his CNN Town Hall. Here are some of the best moments.

Posted: Apr 26, 2018 7:22 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2018 7:24 PM

James Comey's CNN Town Hall appearance at William & Mary University Wednesday shed little new light on his tense, private discussions with the President. Nor did it elicit definitive, explosive sound bites to suggest Trump might be compromised by the Russians.

But the deeper message of James Comey's whirlwind media tour came into clearer focus in his sit-down with Anderson Cooper, as the former FBI director hammered home why it's important to protect the Justice Department from increasingly sharp attacks by President Donald Trump.

Trump has assailed his own Justice Department, the FBI, and the people who run them -- even some of the leaders he has hired. "They view the institution of justice with contempt," Comey said of the administration, telling the crowd that top leaders view it as just another piece on the chessboard of power that can be knocked over when it's unneeded or in the way. "That is a terrible place for us to be as a country."

Comey has emerged as a rare, clear-headed adult in a nation full of partisan voices looking to cast blame anywhere except their own Democratic or Republican doorsteps. That became clear when Comey was pressed several times by audience members and by Cooper on why he didn't give a blunt "no can do" refusal to Trump when the President ushered everyone out of the room and asked the FBI director to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn.

"I get the feedback..." Comey finally responded on why he didn't bluntly cut off the man with the nuclear codes, while sitting alone with him in the room that embodies the President's awesome power. "But I don't know if that's fair."

It's absolutely not fair. Not many people could stare a sitting President in the face -- one with the power to fire you -- and warn him not to cross a line of propriety by trying to influence a criminal investigation.

The Hollywood response would be to shout, stomp and say "I don't have to deal with this," the way Trump might on "The Apprentice" or in the middle of a New York City real estate deal. That's the difference between Trump and Comey, a politician and prosecutor. The Justice Department's job isn't to win votes or ratings -- or have a face-to-face argument with the commander in chief -- but to uphold laws of the land rooted in what's fact.

Comey decided, understandably, to get out of the awkward meeting with Trump and immediately record what happened in the Oval Office to preserve the facts for possible later legal action. It was a smart and brave thing to do.

He admitted his own flaws, too, pointing out that any good leader makes mistakes, a confession of error we have never heard come out of Trump's mouth. And he mused on no-win situations where the DOJ had to weigh what was in the public's interest instead of personal or political considerations.

The most striking part of Comey's performance was the way he conveyed the stakes of the current White House attacks on the Justice Department. At a time when facts are muddled, spun and cherry-picked to fit political strategies, the Justice Department stands as a crucial institution dedicated to showing the public the way things really are.

Comey preached facts, explaining his actions in the Russia probe and the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails with nuanced answers rooted in actual law that governs what can be done -- not simply what the public wants. The truth, like Comey's answers, is often messy. The truth doesn't always fit into something packaged in an hour-long special or five-minute stump speech.

There was a sobering moment near the end, as Comey rattled off Trump's criticism of the DOJ and FBI, and the President's suggestion that some of the people who led them -- including himself -- should be in jail.

"Just pause for a second and reflect on that," he said. "That's not normal. That is an attack on our core values."

All too true -- which is why we need to keep a clear head, filter out the noise and leave partisanship out of the law.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67857

Reported Deaths: 2975
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14710719
Lake7037269
Elkhart458276
Allen3611157
St. Joseph311479
Hamilton2489104
Cass17509
Hendricks1742105
Vanderburgh170012
Johnson1648118
Porter117439
Tippecanoe109411
Clark107545
Madison84265
LaPorte82929
Kosciusko81612
Howard80464
Marshall74222
Bartholomew73847
Floyd68444
Monroe68430
Noble63528
Delaware63352
Boone63246
Dubois62412
Hancock61637
Jackson5514
LaGrange54210
Shelby50926
Warrick50230
Grant49629
Vigo46810
Dearborn46128
Morgan41832
Henry36118
Clinton3523
White34510
Montgomery33821
Lawrence32627
Wayne3159
Decatur31332
Harrison28922
Miami2582
Scott24710
Daviess24319
Greene23834
DeKalb2214
Putnam2218
Jennings20712
Franklin20510
Jasper2032
Steuben1993
Gibson1984
Ripley1887
Perry17112
Starke1647
Orange16324
Wabash1583
Posey1570
Fayette1547
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1442
Carroll1422
Wells1312
Knox1290
Huntington1183
Washington1151
Spencer1133
Newton10910
Tipton1065
Randolph1024
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan751
Pulaski711
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio504
Parke451
Pike450
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93031

Reported Deaths: 3529
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17107514
Cuyahoga12646477
Hamilton9110247
Lucas4852318
Montgomery402477
Summit3248217
Marion287544
Butler268359
Mahoning2393253
Pickaway235242
Stark1679132
Lorain162076
Warren160035
Columbiana157060
Trumbull1421103
Fairfield123825
Delaware119418
Licking111642
Clark107613
Lake103435
Wood91058
Clermont83510
Medina83133
Miami76837
Tuscarawas74613
Portage71160
Allen64642
Greene61911
Belmont58926
Ashtabula53845
Richland53610
Geauga52843
Mercer52213
Erie51627
Wayne49258
Ross3874
Huron3714
Ottawa35225
Athens3441
Madison32910
Sandusky32917
Holmes3206
Darke31627
Hancock3152
Lawrence2160
Union2141
Auglaize2135
Jefferson2043
Washington19722
Putnam19317
Coshocton1856
Scioto1851
Muskingum1781
Knox1652
Crawford1645
Preble1642
Morrow1582
Shelby1574
Seneca1533
Hardin15012
Clinton1466
Fulton1391
Ashland1303
Defiance1294
Highland1271
Williams1233
Logan1201
Wyandot1195
Brown1121
Guernsey1106
Hocking1089
Carroll1075
Henry1061
Champaign1051
Perry1052
Fayette940
Monroe9018
Van Wert681
Pike660
Jackson650
Paulding590
Gallia571
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs240
Morgan200
Harrison191
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Angola
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Cooler Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events