Senator Jim Risch is a guy who you can definitely trust to be impartial.
Need proof? No problem.
Just recall his “measured” assessment of what should happen to whoever it was that decided the American people needed to know that Trump leaked classified information to the Russians:
There’s a weasel in here somewhere. This person is a traitor, they’ve committed treason, and they ought to go to prison.
Now to be sure, he’s right about there being “a weasel in here somewhere,” and he’s right that whoever the “weasel” is has “committed treason” and “ought to go to prison.” He’s just wrong about who that person is.
Apparently, the irony inherent in claiming that someone is a traitor and should be sent to prison for telling the press that the President committed treason was lost on Jim.
On Thursday we got still more evidence that Jim doesn’t understand much about nuance.
Consider this exchange that Trump supporters have hilariously (although not surprisingly) suggested is “proof” that the President didn’t try to obstruct justice:
Risch: “Boy you nailed this down on page 5 paragraph 3, you put this in quotes, words matter, you wrote down the words so we could all have the words in front of us now. There are 28 words there that are in quotes and it says, ‘I hope’, this is the President speaking, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go…I hope you can let this go.'”
“Now those are his exact words, is that correct”
Risch: “And you wrote them here and you put them in quotes?”
Risch: “Thank you for that. He did not direct you to let it go.”
Comey: “Not in his words, no.”
Risch:“He did not order you to let it go.”
Comey:“Again, those words are not an order.”
Risch: “He said ‘I hope’. Now, like me you probably did 100’s of cases, maybe 1,000s of cases charging people with criminal offenses. And, of course, you have knowledge of the 1,000s of cases out there where people have been charged. Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, for that matter of any other criminal offense, where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome?”
Comey: “I don’t know well enough to answer. And the reason I keep saying ‘his words’ is I took it as a direction…”
Risch: “You may have taken it as a direction but that is not what he said. He said, ‘I hope.’ You don’t know of anyone who has ever been charged for hoping something, is that a fair statement?”
Comey:“I don’t as I sit here.”
Here’s the clip:
So what did we learn there?
Well, two things:
- James Comey knows that when the President of the United States tells you that he “hopes” something will go away – especially when that something is an investigation into his own administration’s ties to the Kremlin – that’s for all intents and purposes a directive.
- Jim Risch would make a really terrible mob soldier. Boss of family: “I wouldn’t mind if Johnny Roast Beef ended up at the bottom of a river.” Risch: “I’m not sure I get what you’re driving at, sir.”
Obviously, Risch was being disingenuous and everyone with any sense knew it (just Google the hilarious reactions). Here’s an example:
Fortunately, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine cleared things up later in the testimony: