USF Law Dean John Trasviña Comments on Trump's Credibility Contest in San Francisco Chronicle | USF in the News |


Some political analysts said Comey’s words were likely to carry more weight than even a nonpartisan fact-checking operation such as PolitiFact. The Pulitzer Prize-winning site has found that 71 percent of the Trump statements it has examined have been “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire.”


But hearing the former head of the FBI say it during an internationally watched hearing codifies that image of Trump into the public’s mind — and some of that may leach into the minds of his most devout supporters.


“It’s not a member of the mainstream media (saying it). It’s not another politician. It’s the (former) head of the FBI,” said John Trasviña, who was general counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution in the 1990s and now is dean of the University of San Francisco Law School.


“It’s harder to dismiss law enforcement,” Trasviña said. “There are people in other parts of the country who are totally inclined to believe law enforcement — they are still respected institutions.”


And that’s even considering Comey’s checkered reputation among partisans — particularly some Democrats who thought he bungled announcements, just days before the November election, around the investigation involving Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.


“Comey’s no angel, he’s not perfect,” Trasviña said. “But if you have two people in the room — him and Trump — people will choose Comey.”