The good poker player knows when to bluff, but the great poker player knows when to call the other player’s bluff. It’s the situation we now find ourselves in when it comes to Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey. Trump fired Comey this week, and then began publicly threatening him in a way which was aimed at getting him to remain silent about what he knows. But now Comey is indeed calling Trump’s bluff in a manner which could end up being explosive.
Trump tried to scare Comey into silence by insinuating that there may be “tapes” of the conversations that the two of them had privately. But if anything, this has backfired – and not just because Trump unwittingly cast himself as a paranoid Richard Nixon type. Comey has responded by declining to testify this week before Congress, but not because he’s afraid of Trump. Instead he’s declining because he’s adding the stipulation that his testimony be in public hearings (link). In other words, he wants as many people to hear what he has to say about Trump as possible. But that’s just the beginning of how Comey is calling Trump’s bluff.
James Comey is now communicating with the American public by saying things privately to his friends, with the understanding that they’re going to turn around and leak it to the media. Make no mistake: these leaks are intentional, as his friends would not be putting this information out there if he didn’t want it out there. So what’s Comey really up to?
According to NBC’s Ken Dilanian, Comey is telling friends he hopes there are tapes of his conversations with Donald Trump (link). In so doing, Comey is signaling to everyone involved that he has no fear of whatever might come out. It’s also making Trump look impotent for not going ahead and releasing these tapes, which may or may not even exist. Bluff called. Help fund Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report