It has been said that above all else that Donald Trump values unfettered loyalty from his subordinates. He expects it…demands it. It has also been said that should that loyalty wane or should that subordinate cease to be of value there is no one more apt to throw them under the bus than Donald Trump.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is a Trump loyalist. He was the first prominent politician to pledge his allegiance to Trump. Through all the controversies and self inflicted wounds…from Mexican rapists to the Billy Bush tape to denigrating a Gold Star parent…Sessions was Trumps staunchest supporter.
Trump rewarded Sessions for his loyalty by appointing him the nation’s Attorney General.
Soon thereafter Sessions was found to have lied about meetings he had taken with Russian officials. Sessions understood that his failure to disclose those meetings constituted a breach of trust that would prevent him from continuing to lead the justice department’s investigation into the Russian meddling in our elections. Sessions appropriately recused himself for the investigation; appointing his deputy AG to take over the leadership role. I am no fan of Jeff Sessions. In this case he did the right thing.
When Trump learned of Sessions refusal he was furious. Trump had counted on Sessions’ loyalty to keep the Russian investigation in check. Trump became apoplectic when the Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein stepped aside and appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel in charge of the investigation. Trump had lost all control over the investigation and he aired his displeasure publically with Sessions as the target. Sessions had been disloyal and let Trump down. Sessions recusal led to Mueller. Now Trump was vulnerable. It was Sessions fault…simple as that.
Two hours from now former FBI Director James Comey will testify before congress about the Flynn/Russian investigation and Trump’s brazen efforts to derail the investigation. Comey has released the transcripts of what will be his opening statement. Comey confirms most of what we already know. Trump was obsessed with the Russian investigation particularly with aspects pertaining to himself and Michael Flynn. Trump wanted assurances that he was not personally under investigation and he wanted anything having to do with Flynn quashed. If Comey found that “satellite” individuals associated with his campaign were guilty of wrongdoing…tossing them under the bus was just business. But Flynn had to be saved.
Why? Was it a promise Trump made in return for Flynn’s resignation and silence? Or was Trump afraid that Flynn would turn if the FBI started talking jail time?
In the end Trump demanded loyalty from Comey. He pressed Comey to let Flynn off the hook. When Comey declined on both accounts Trump fired him. Trump asked for loyalty. He didn’t get it. Comey had to go. Simple as that.
Having read Comey’s opening statement, Trump’s supporters see vindication. Trump’s detractors see obstruction of justice. At this point neither is certain.
Neither is certain because what we are about to witness today is but the opening act in a much larger production. Comey’s testimony will play an important part in the mystery of all things Russia but it will by no means be the final chapter.
For silently in the shadows a man toils who will serve as the ultimate arbiter. He will not pledge his loyalty to Trump nor partisan political persuasion. He will go where the facts lead him and the president and all the president’s men will serve at his pleasure.
James Comey will star in the opening act. It is Special Counsel Robert Mueller who will take the final curtain call.