James Comey raised eyebrows by comparing an exchange he had with President Trump to a centuries-old feud between a king and a priest.
Ex-FBI Director James Comey compared President Trump’s overtures to him on the Russia investigation to a centuries-old feud between an English king and a “troublesome priest” during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
Sen. Angus King (I-ME) had asked Comey if Trump’s comment – that he “hope[d]” Comey could “see [his] way clear to letting” the Flynn investigation go – constituted a “directive.”
“Yes,” Comey said. “It rings in my ear as, kind of, ‘will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'”
King smiled and said he was just about to bring up the same comment.
The BBC has more context on the quote, which is actually “will no one rid of this troublesome priest?”
[Priest Thomas] Becket himself was now in a delicate position. He needed to recover his authority in England and avoid becoming a yes-man of the king. On his arrival in England, he immediately excommunicated his old ecclesiastical enemies, including the Archbishop of York who had crowned Henry the Younger. When this news was brought to him in his Christmas court at Bures in Normandy, Henry exploded and is said to have uttered the words: ‘Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?’
It was undoubtedly spoken in anger, but four knights took him at his word. Led by one Reginald fitz Urse, they slipped across the Channel to Canterbury, where they tried to force Becket to return with them and face the King’s wrath. He refused and they retired to bed. Next morning, while he was leading morning mass, they attempted to drag him out of the cathedral, and he resisted. It was during this struggle that he received a blow on the head which seems to have tipped the whole thing over into violence and the four knights fell on him with their swords. He died later that afternoon on 29 December 1170.
If you thought tweltfth-century historical references would come up in the Comey hearing, give yourself a pat on the back.
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