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A Conservative's Take On The James Comey Hearing

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Listen, big surprise - Democrats and Republicans diverge greatly in their response to James Comey's testimony. Democrats have been outraged saying that Mr. Comey's testimony showed President Trump has a contempt for justice. Republicans, on the other hand, have largely criticized Mr. Comey for leaking news about his meetings with the president.

We're going to turn now to Michael Graham, conservative commentator, ask what he thinks. He's at the studios we usually occupy in the District of Columbia. Michael, thanks so much for being with us.

MICHAEL GRAHAM: And burning in jealousy that you're down South. I'm from South Carolina, as you know, so, go cocks. And I would say that we are rivals...

SIMON: He's talking about a sports team. OK, go ahead.

GRAHAM: I would...

(LAUGHTER)

GRAHAM: Well, of course, you're in Alabama. They all know the - I would say our SCC rivals except for south (unintelligible) never going to beat Alabama. So we're not really - we're just, you know, homecoming fodder for the Crimson Tide.

SIMON: Thank you, Michael. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that President Trump - he just said the president's new at this. Do you buy that?

GRAHAM: Well, I mean, it's obvious that he's both new at it and not particularly good at it. I mean, it was painful. As I was sitting there listening to James Comey describe that one-on-one intimate dinner a week after Trump took office, I just felt - I remember how uncomfortable my prom date looked as I leered at her across the table...

SIMON: (Laughter).

GRAHAM: ...This was even worse than that. But I will I will also say this that, you know, I spent the - as you know, Scott, I'm very reluctant to ever be around adult beverages. But I did force myself to go to Shaw's Tavern in D.C. because in Alabama, believe this or not, it's a party in D.C. to watch a bureaucrat testify.

The place was packed. There was a line out the door - a hundred people waiting to get in and have cocktails and watch Comey. And I got to tell you, I think for the typical person in Lexington, S.C, where I grew up - in Alabama, in Indiana - this was such a D.C. thing. A - you know, a bureaucrat who wanted to keep his job talking about a politician being a liar - I mean, that's a day that ends in a Y for most Americans in how they see Washington, D.C. But I still drank, though, so it all worked out all right.

SIMON: But there's some other stuff, too. I mean, the investigation into Russia, the - you know, the allegations there might have been more contact with this enigmatic Russian ambassador, for that matter, stories about personal financial scandal in the Trump family and their relationship with the St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Does any of that, you think, get through to the people who have supported the president?

GRAHAM: As far as the Comey process, I don't think so. I mean, I really believe that one of the best things that happened for President Trump to keep his team with him - because that's all he has. He only has his team. He's lost the Democrats. He's lost independents - is when they heard James Comey acknowledge that Donald Trump was never under investigation the entire time he was the head of the FBI.

That was big. And when James Comey acknowledged that he orchestrated the release of his memo to himself through a friend, that just sent the message, yeah, deep state out to get him. This is exactly what we thought of Washington. And it lets Trump supporters maintain their support.

SIMON: Michael Graham, thanks very much for being back with us.

GRAHAM: Have a biscuit for me, please.

SIMON: (Laughter) All right, sir. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.