GOP focus group characterizes Comey as “weak”

GOP focus group characterizes Comey as “weak”
April 16 14:50 2018 Print This Article

A camera crew from CNN came to Charleston Monday to use 22 Charleston-area Republicans as a focus group to respond to an interview with fired FBI Director James Comey and ABC anchor George Stephanopolous.  Longtime CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman asked the audience to describe Comey in one word. Numerous respondents blurted out “Weak!” Several people spoke about how Comey complained about being bullied by President Donald Trump in meetings and remarked that he didn’t know how to handle the situation. Others said he should have discussed the situation with Attorney General Jeff Sessions before leaking his concerns about Trump to the media in 2017. Charleston County Republican Party Chairman Larry Kobrovsky said, “He (Comey) is a big person (standing 6’8″ tall) but a little man.”

At issue with Comey was a private discussion he had with President Trump over the investigation of national security advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn was wiretapped based on a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Authorization (FISA) warrant that Comey signed off on. Comey failed to tell the FISA judge that the warrant request was based on a fake report compiled by consulting firm Fusion GPS and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Comey told Congress that the document was “salacious and unverified.”

Trump fired Comey in May 2017, and Comey learned about the firing from watching TV news headlines. It was obvious to the members of the focus group that Comey is seething with rage based on the situation and is networking with his friends in the law enforcement community to try to take Trump down. Shortly after Comey was fired, Attorney General Sessions was talked into recusing himself from an FBI investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia nationals, even though there is no federal crime concerning collusion. Immediately after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller (a longtime friend and associate of Comey) to investigate people associated with the Trump 2016 campaign team.

Federal agencies like the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and others are said to be ruled by a “deep state” involving career bureaucrats who have their own agenda. A recent example was the effort of career IRS employee Lois Lerner preventing conservative groups from getting non-profit tax status. Mark Penn, a longtime pollster and advisor to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton wrote in The Hill in an article titled “Comey’s Last Stand for the Deep State”, “Each day, it becomes clearer that they (FBI and other agency bureaucrats) are the real abusers of power in this drama.” Focus group participant Joe Boykin, a retired federal law enforcement officer, remarked that corruption at the highest level of federal law enforcement agencies makes Americans question their motives and actions.

Another controversial moment in the Comey interview was when he called Trump “morally unfit” to serve as President. He said with pride that his wife and daughters attended the “Women’s March” the day after Trump’s inauguration. The event was peppered with obscene signs, gestures and language. Pop star Madonna addressed the large group and suggested that the White House should be blown up, and she was met with thunderous applause. If Comey sees himself as a moral arbiter, he should start with his own family. He also failed to mention that Hillary Clinton stored classified national security documents on a private server and hand-held devices and then had her staff acid-wash the server hard-drive and smash the mobile devices with hammers.

On the issue of impeachment, Comey said he opposes it. He said voters should should take action by going to the polls (and voting out President Trump). Tuchman brought up the “blue wave” that the media constantly mentions and the possibility of the Democrats taking over Congress and drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump, which only requires a simple majority in the House. The focus group shouted in unison, “They won’t (take over Congress)!”  Tuchman looked genuinely surprised at the focus group response.

You can see an edited version of the Charleston Republican Party focus group discussion on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Monday from 8 to 10 pm Eastern.