- The Republican Party is now Trump’s Party – When given the opportunity to question fired FBI Director James Comey, Republicans finally had the chance to get clarity on whether the President of the United States was trying to obstruct justice. So what did they ask? John McCain questioned why the investigation of Hillary Clinton had been shut down while the Russian investigation continues. Marco Rubio asked why didn’t it leak that the President wasn’t personally under investigation. Roy Blunt asked why didn’t the FBI Director (an employee of the executive branch) just chose not to answer the phone when the President (the head of the executive branch) called him. Republicans didn’t ask about the content, they asked about the leaks. Republicans didn’t ask why the President behaved as he did, they asked why if the President was allegedly so bad, why didn’t Comey do more. Republicans, besides Susan Collins of Maine, didn’t make a real effort to question the motivations of the President. Instead, there was a concerted attempt to poke holes in Comey’s arguments, not to get to the truth. What will finally push Republicans to put distance between themselves and the President? Apparently not ethics or decency.
- Comey never trusted President Trump – Here’s an exchange between Senator Mark Warner and James Comey…
WARNER: You’ve worked under presidents of both parties. What was it about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record?
COMEY: A combination of things. I think the circumstances, the subject matter, and the person I was interacting with…. I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document. That combination of things I had never experienced before, but had led me to believe I got to write it down and write it down in a very detailed way.
In his first meeting with the then President-elect, Comey knew that he’d have to record his conversations, in a way that he didn’t have to with President Obama or President Bush. That’s pretty noteworthy, that the sitting Director of the FBI was keeping records of conversations with the President because he figured he’d need them for his own protection.
- We will never be done talking about Hillary’s emails – There were a number of times when questioning returned to the topic of Bill Clinton’s infamous meeting with former attorney general Loretta Lynch on a Phoenix tarmac. It was easy to forget that the purpose of this hearing was to gauge whether or not the President might’ve obstructed justice and to give context to the Comey memos. However, there were still more than 20 mentions of a closed investigation about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, an investigation where she was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. That investigation closed 11 months ago, and Donald Trump has been President for nearly 6 months. Yet, every hearing that involves putting a magnifying glass up to the activities of the President, somehow always circles back to Hillary Clinton’s emails. The line of questioning by Senator John Cornyn and others suggest that we should look forward to continued discussion of Hillary Clinton, no matter how many the topic of a congressional hearing.
- There’s still more information to come – There has been a constant drip of information., Every day we learn more about the activities of the President and his associates. We haven’t seen the full content of the Comey memos, so it stands to reason that more will be revealed as they are published in the press. There’s also the matter of Mike Flynn, who hasn’t testified before the Senate. Comey repeated several times that a criminal investigation is underway, and it seems unlikely that Flynn is so loyal to the President that he would continue to refuse to cooperate if it meant possible criminal prosecution. This is also true of Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Jared Kushner who is due to testify sometime in the near future. There are many unanswered questions, but luckily for Congress, we have identified the people who would know the answers.
- Donald Trump is scared – Maybe the President of the United States and his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the results of last year’s election. Maybe Trump’s associates are guilty of money laundering, and the business connections in Russia are more than just unethical. Maybe everything in the Steele dossier is true, urine fetish and all. However, maybe none of it is true, and Trump, as he has repeatedly claimed, actually doesn’t know anything about Russia. Regardless, the President’s behavior suggests that he’s worried about something. Trump was noticeably silent during the hearing today after promising he’d live-tweet the event, and his interactions with Comey suggest that he is deeply paranoid about something. The demand for loyalty, the asking people to leave the room, and the constant questioning of whether he was being investigated…. Trump may claim that the Russia story is fake news, but he doesn’t seem to think so. Currently there’s quite a bit of smoke, but Trump looks to be feeling the fire.