Folks, the hits just keep coming from James Comey, who it appears kept a whole bunch of incredibly detailed notes about his relationship with Donald Trump, all of which are slowly coming to light in the aftermath of his firing. The decision to terminate him is looking increasingly like the type of thing the president would want to take back if he could, and also if he possessed the intellectual capacity for regret or shame. Last night, The New York Times released yet another set of extremely detailed stories about the brief, fraught relationship between the two men, detailing the president’s awkward, inept flattery and the FBI director’s increasing sense of unease about the whole thing. Many of the actions look a little funny, as far as the whole “obstruction of justice” and “investigation into possible Russian interference” things go, but, moreover, they also look very funny in the literal sense.
The crescendo of the piece is this anecdote, which contains both the hilarious image of the gigantic Comey attempting to blend in with the wall and an explanation for his awkward bro-hug/cheek-kiss with the president:
The ceremony occurred in the Blue Room of the White House, where many senior law enforcement officials — including the Secret Service director — had gathered. Mr. Comey — who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and was wearing a dark blue suit that day – told Mr. Wittes that he tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room, in the hopes that Mr. Trump would not spot him and call him out.
“He thought he had gotten through and not been noticed or singled out and that he was going to get away without an individual interaction,” Mr. Wittes said Mr. Comey told him.
But Mr. Trump spotted Mr. Comey and called him out.
“Oh and there’s Jim,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s become more famous than me.”
With an abashed look on his face, Mr. Comey walked up to Mr. Trump.
“Comey said that as he was walking across the room he was determined that there wasn’t going to be a hug,” Mr. Wittes said. “It was bad enough there was going to be a handshake. And Comey has long arms so Comey said he pre-emptively reached out for a handshake and grabbed the president’s hand. But Trump pulled him into an embrace and Comey didn’t reciprocate. If you look at the video, it’s one person shaking hands and another hugging.”
Now watch it unfold in real-time:
The camera’s swing to spot Comey earnestly attempting to disguise himself as just a simple, everyday curtain has the feel of an Arrested Development whip-pan, and the strained, character-based physical comedy of their ensuing interaction feels like, well, another Arrested Development joke. (Good thing that fifth season is happening.) The whole thing sort of cosmically rhymes with the other indelible image of what is hopefully the beginning of the end of the Trump administration—that of press secretary Sean Spicer hiding among the bushes rather than face journalists’ questions. Both suggest the lengths some of our most powerful people have gone to reconcile with the blundering idiocy of our 45th president.
In the months and years to come, as details leak out about the comedy of errors that has been the Trump presidency, short videos like this will become funnier and funnier in hindsight, assuming we are not all dead, in thought-prison, or scavenging for scraps of food along with everyone else in a war-ravaged hellscape.