If you were walking into the popular Brooklyn brunch spot Building on Bond for former FBI Director Jim Comey’s testimony Thursday, the first person you probably met was a staffer for the Samantha Bee show, asking whether you were comfortable being on TV.
They weren’t the only outlets in the house as the testimony drew closer. PIX11, ABC News and a French TV station’s cameras panned across the bar area, amply stocked with taps from Guinness to Haufbrauhaus.
They were here to see the people there to see the Comey show, and it was a Comey crowd.
“Give ’em hell buddy,” the bartender shouted as the former director approached the microphone.
“I hate Donald Trump,” said Dennis Villasana, 46, a lawyer who had dropped by on his way to work for a Lagunitas to see how Comey did.
The approximately 50 people in the bar, many of them journalists, were mostly quiet while listening to the senators’ prefacing. Some patrons cheered Comey on from time to time, including when he characterized reporters camped outside his house as “seagulls.”
But mostly, patrons expressed outrage at the Trump administration and its actions on the ongoing federal investigation Russian meddling in the 2016 election. “How are these people in charge?” one woman asked during a particularly strange line of questioning from Sen. John McCain. “Sit down grandpa,” shouted another.
In a corner of the bar, Foo Cassidy said she felt deeply that Comey was telling the truth about Trump’s interference with the FBI’s Russia investigation. “I feel like this should be fake news,” she said — as in, an investigation and fallout so crazy it should be fiction.
She said she remembered watching Richard Nixon’s Watergate hearings at home with her mother, switching back and forth with “Sesame Street” while her mother ironed.
Now, she was watching in public. And she felt strongly about this reincarnation of an embattled president. “Trump is a crook.”
Mark Chiusano is a member of Newsday’s editorial board.