In an interview with MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) responded to Comey’s damning opening statement in which Trump told him, “I expect loyalty.”
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) June 7, 2017
Ryan, conceding that Trump was blatantly in the wrong with his demand, said, “I mean, obviously I don’t think that is [appropriate]. I think Director Comey will probably get a lot of questions about that tomorrow, will be my guess.”
“FBI directors are supposed to be independent,” Ryan continued. “That’s something that’s very, very critical.”
According to a memo that Comey wrote following his meeting with Trump, the President put the former FBI Director in a precarious position. Of their conversation, Comey wrote:
“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Mr. Trump said.
“I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.”
“I need loyalty,” Mr. Trump repeated.
“You will always get honesty from me.”
“That’s what I want,” Mr. Trump said. “Honest loyalty.”
The release of Comey’s incriminating opening statement comes on the heels of another bombshell report by The Washington Post, which revealed that Trump had also asked the Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats to “intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe.”
Apparently, the instances in which Trump attempted to obstruct justice were not limited to the former FBI Director.
Ryan’s comments are an indication that Trump is fighting an uphill battle by digging in his heels and denying that he ever posed the question. Ryan has been a fierce surrogate for Trump; his inability to defend him now certainly does not bode well for the embattled President. With Comey’s testimony only hours away, Trump is going to be hard-pressed to figure out a way to spin this undeniably incriminatory evidence.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.