Of all the possible revelations that could have come out of former F.B.I. director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, viewers probably wouldn’t have guessed a medieval reference would be among them.
During his appearance before the committee on Capitol Hill, Comey was asked about how he interpreted President Donald Trump’s request to drop the F.B.I.’s investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
“When a president of the United States in the Oval Office says something like ‘I hope’ or ‘I suggest’ — do you take that as a directive?” Sen. Angus King (I-ME), asked.
“Yes,” Comey replied, before referencing a request by Henry II in 1170. “It rings in my ear as, kind of, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'”
King replied he was just about to quote the same, observing that the next day, that same priest, Thomas Becket, was killed. He went on to say to Comey, “We’re thinking along the same lines.”
If you’re not a history a buff, no fear — the Peter O’Toole/Richard Burton starrer Becket, from 1964, features the famous exchange: