Comey goes medieval: 'Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'
Posted June 8
James Comey pulled a line out of the history books in his public Senate intelligence committee hearing.
Maine Sen. Angus King was pressing Comey about how he interpreted phrases President Donald Trump used in a one-on-one February dinner, in which Trump urged Comey to drop the probe into just-fired national security adviser Mike Flynn.
King, an independent, asked Comey if he interpreted language like "I hope" as directives from the President.
"Yes. It kind of rings in my ears as, 'Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'" Comey said.
"I was just going to quote that," King responded.
It's a line that Henry II, the king of England, has been quoted historically as uttering in 1170 during a years-long feud with Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket.
Those words, some historical accounts suggest, were interpreted by Henry's men as him wishing for Becket to be killed.
The next month, four knights loyal to Henry tracked Becket down and killed him.
The irony here: Becket -- an annoyance to Henry II as Comey eventually became to Trump -- was later venerated as a saint. That's a fact Comey would have known: Religion was one of his majors at the College of William and Mary, and his senior thesis analyzed liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell.