Nostalgic Woodward Imagines Comey as ‘Our Old Source Deep Throat’

What better way for CBS This Morning to spin James Comey’s appearance in front of Congress on Thursday then to bring on Watergate journalist Bob Woodward? The veteran reporter compared Comey to his iconic source, Deep Throat. 

Speaking of the revelation that the ex-FBI Director leaked information, Woodward managed to offer a hyperbolic comparison and, at the same time, remind people of his own legacy: “He's like our old source Deep Throat, Mark Felt, who was number two in the FBI. Felt would meet in an underground garage, lurking in the shadows.”  

Gayle King wondered, “Was Comey's credibility damaged, do you think, Bob, when he revealed he leaked information to a friend in the hopes that it would lead to a special prosecutor?” 

Unsurprisingly, Woodward loves leaks. He replied, “I think it actually was enhanced.... Yeah. Because he was honest about it.” 

In a nod towards objectivity, the journalist hit Comey on not publicly saying Trump wasn't under investigation: 

I think he should have. His argument is, well if Trump came under investigation, we'd have to fix that. We'd have to correct that. But there is a way. If you look at for four months Trump was essentially begging, “Tell them I'm not under investigation.” 

A transcript is below: 

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CBS This Morning 
6/9/17
7:10:42 to 7:16:56 

CHARLIE ROSE: With us now is Bob Woodward, an associate editor at the Washington Post. He is no stranger to blockbuster congressional hearings. He is one of the reporters that broke the Watergate story that eventually led to President Nixon’s resignation. Bob, welcome. 

BOB WOODWARD: Thank you. 

ROSE: So, we have testimony yesterday in which James Comey calls the President a liar. Then, the President tweets this morning that James Comey a liar. This began as a probe into whether Russia was colluding with the trump transition team. Where are we on the big story? 

WOODWARD: That is the question. The big story is about what Russia did. That's what's got to be investigated and what's missing here at this point is a clear crime. What Russia did in the election last year, it was a classic espionage operation. We — Our CIA used to do this decades ago. And so you've got to find out who did that? Was somebody in the United States in the Trump campaign or trump himself somehow involved. That's a big task. I think we now have about  five to ten percent — 

ROSE: Five percent? 

WOODWARD: — of the answers to the questions we need. And there’s so many and so many have to do with what happened with Russia. 

NORAH O’DONNELL: That's exactly what the FBI was trying to do and tasked with. And then we have the man who's been in charge of this independent agency saying before the world, “It's my judgment I was fired because of the Russia investigation by the President of the United States.” 

WOODWARD: I think that's true, and I think you look at the chronology and the evidence  at the same time. You know, what was Trump thinking? What was he doing? And Comey gives a window into this. Trump was obsessed with getting a public declaration that he, Trump, was not under investigation. And Comey told him that three times and then never would say it publicly. 

GAYLE KING: Do you think he should have said it publicly? 

WOODWARD: I think he should have. His argument is, well if Trump came under investigation, we'd have to fix that. We'd have to correct that. But there is a way. If you look at for four months Trump was essentially begging, “Tell them I'm not under investigation.” 

KING: Was Comey's credibility damaged, do you think, Bob, when he revealed he leaked information to a friend in the hopes that it would lead to a special prosecutor? Which it did. 

WOODWARD: I think it actually was enhanced. 

KING: Really? 

WOODWARD: Yeah. Because he was honest about it. 

KING: He’s like our old source Deep Throat, Mark Felt, who was number two in the FBI. Felt would meet in an underground garage, lurking in the shadows. 

ROSE: With you? 

WOODWARD: With me. Yes. And Comey has come out and said, “Look, I wanted to get this out. I think we needed a special counsel to investigate that.” That’s reasonable. 

ROSE: Are there other comparisons ws with Watergate? Because here we have, with John Dean, we had somebody who is on the inside. James Comey is not on the inside of the Trump administration. 

WOODWARD: There is dramatic difference. Comey not John Dean. Comey is a witness about what trump allegedly did. Dean was so powerful 45 years ago as a witness because he said, “look, I was the president's lawyer in the white house and what I did was corrupt. We led the obstruction of justice. The President was in charge of this. And I was responding that way.” 

KING: Was there any positive takeaway for team trump yesterday in your opinion? 

WOODWARD: Well, just the argument that, “Hey, look, why didn't they tell the world that Trump was not under investigation.” And if you get into the chronology of this, there are two points where Comey waits two weeks before kind of responding to what clearly to what clearly was president Trump's number one demand. 

ROSE: You get the impression, though, that the Trump team is a bit relieved by this because they expected perhaps he had things to say that he had not said before that might have been even more damaging. 

WOODWARD: That’s possible But it’s very damaging when Comey said, “Look, at one meeting the President said let the Flynn investigation go.” Trump, a lot of people are saying, “Trump is new to this, he's not lawyer.” If you check the record, and I have, Trump's been involved in more lawsuits than just about anyone and he knows you have to get legal advice and not get involved in this business of telling the FBI director drop an investigation. That's off the rails and way out of bounds. 

O’DONNELL: We sat here together all day yesterday and remarked about how many times the FBI director mentioned tapes. Multiple occasions was the reason he actually released the memos to his friend and became part of the papers. He said, “Lordy, I hope there's tapes.” Do you think there's tapes? 

WOODWARD: You know — It's always the best evidence. If there had not been tapes in the Nixon case, he would have stayed in office, I'm sure. Say you're Mueller, the special investigator counsel in this. What do you want? You want a defector from Russian intelligence to come to the United States and “I will tell you how we ran this operation.” I mean all of —  everyone in the intelligence community has been very clear and very powerful in saying there is evidence that everyone agrees, establishes that Russia did this. Now, was there money involved? Who was involved? They said Putin directed it. Are there people in this country? That’s why I say we still have 90 or 95 of the work to do. 


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