There is no defending Trump's treatment of Comey. It was clumsy, naive and smarmy. But it did not even come close to being criminal. And regardless of what the Democrats and their allies in the media will howl about, the real story here is that Comey's testimony strengthens the president's ultimate case. Up until Thursday, it was easy for Republicans and Democrats to take aim at Comey - and rightfully so. He stumbled in handling the Hillary Clinton debacle and he stayed in the spotlight with Trump for too long.
But Comey's testimony made clear that the former FBI director did not find Trump's supposed remarks made over the phone, at a private dinner, or in the Oval Office as constituting obstruction of justice. Liberals will have you believe otherwise, but they must be disappointed that their silver bullet seems to be melting.
Regarding the Michael Flynn investigation, Comey testified Trump said, "I hope you can let this go." Had Comey believed the president obstructed justice by making that statement, steps would have been taken to immediately pursue the matter. But, as Comey confirmed, Trump was never under investigation during his tenure at the FBI.
After each encounter with the president, Comey went about his business, thereby confirming the president had not crossed a legal line. To the usual suspects on the left, that does not matter. It is more important, from their perspective at least, to keep the story alive and to tarnish the president. Initially, Comey seemed happy to oblige.
But, as Comey made clear in his prepared statement, at the time he left his post he was not aware of evidence to suggest Trump colluded with the Russian government. No investigation, not from the FBI or any congressional committee has established otherwise.
Likewise, the fact that the directors of national intelligence and the National Security Agency testified Wednesday they were never pressured to do anything inappropriate with respect to ongoing investigations should be enough to confirm that there was no crime.
The only collusion revealed from last year's campaign was the shocker that former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had done some wordsmithing for the Clinton campaign. She is no Frank Luntz, but Lynch instructed Comey to call the investigation into Clinton a "matter," not an investigation. If that's not trying to influence an election, I don't know what is. Everyone suspected Lynch was eager to keep her job in a would-be Clinton administration, but no one knew that she would go as far as to demand the FBI use gentle language on Clinton's behalf.
With a special counsel afoot, everything is fair game. The Democrats will argue that even if there was no criminal collusion, someone - namely the president - must have obstructed justice in trying to suppress the investigation of the non-crime. Good luck with that. Between Comey's testimony and that of the nation's top national security professionals, it will be impossible for anyone, even the most determined anti-Trump Democrat, to reconstruct Comey's testimony as evidence of criminal activity.
Regardless of what Democrats would have you believe, the president still has the advantage of being innocent. He is lucky to have not squandered that advantage. At some point, the search for a crime will run its course and fade away, but it is up to the White House to be surefooted and keep mistakes to a minimum. Is it possible the president has learned a lesson?
If Trump can let the hearing settle, compartmentalize the whole matter and let the independent counsel do his work, the Russia investigation and all its subsidiaries will conclude without evidence of a crime. Everyone in the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill should look at Thursday's hearing as a win. They should quiet down, get back to work, and let the Democrats aimlessly flail around Washington. It will not be pleasant, but it won't be deadly.
• 05/19/17: Mueller's presence will be good for Trump, even if he doesn't realize it
• 05/15/17: Trump won't let the Russia story die
• 05/11/17: Comey should have been out long ago
• 04/27/17: Dems are hoping that the Russia investigations will become Trump's Watergate. Why their pursuit of him may already be backfiring
• 04/03/17: Trump White House be granted an active RNC
• 03/20/17: In search of truth? GOP better not be baited
• 02/23/17: The 'deep state' is real. The 'alt right' is fake
• 02/17/16: The Trump presidency is not crippled
• 01/30/16: Politically illiterate Democratic celebs continue to embarrass themselves
• 01/13/16: Dems' opposition to Trump is lame, lazy and leaderless
• 12/21/16: The Russians weren't that good; the Obama administration was that bad
• 09/19/16: Trump's economic plan is a good start
• 07/26/16: Hillary faces three challenges that are unique to her and to this era in modern politics
• 06/15/16: The Obama administration starts work to save Hillary's hind
• 06/01/16: The long lines at airports are a problem for Hillary Clinton
• 05/23/16: Three reasons Bernie Sanders should stay in the race
• 05/17/16: Obama calling the kettle black
• 03/29/16: Can we talk about Ted Cruz?
• 03/10/16: After Tuesday's results, all eyes are on Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell