DONALD TRUMP: Note to self: Never accuse predecessor of committing a felony without having incontrovertible evidence in hand. These guys don’t mess around. Bigly! #Oops!
The Federal Bureau of Investigation in concert with the Justice Department and the National Security Agency dealt a crippling body blow to President Trump’s plummeting credibility.
Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee; FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers advised the committee that President Trump’s tweets accusing former President Obama of wiretapping his Trump Tower phones were untrue.
“With Respect to the presidents’ tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration; I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI.” Said Comey. “We have no information that supports them.”
“I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity.” Echoed Rogers.
Translation: The President of the United States lied to the American people by falsely accusing the former president of committing a felony.
As shocking as this confirmation may be it pales in comparison to the underlying story that Trump’s tweet was trying to bury; that the Russians had meddled in our election with the intent of denigrating Hillary Clinton and by inference tipping the scales in favor of Donald Trump. And that members of the Trump campaign had either known about the interference or actively colluded with Russian operatives in their efforts.
There had been great speculation on what if anything Comey would reveal in his testimony. Comey did not disappoint:
“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of its counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russian efforts.”
Comey advised the committee that the investigation had been ongoing since July of 2016.
It stands to reason that any sane, competent president watching this political disaster unfold on national television would shut down non-essential communications and hunker down with top advisors to figure out a path forward. But as we know this is no sane president. Rather than maintain “radio silence” Trump doubled down; tweeting out false information WHILE COMEY AND ROGERS WERE TESTIFYING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE. Democrats on the committee were only too happy to read Trump’s twitter rants aloud for the record and then sit back and watch the two star witnesses debunk the president’s false tweets (lies) under oath.
Keep in mind that it was Trump’s reckless twitter accusation against Obama that was the impetus behind congressional leaders demanding that Comey and Rogers appear before the investigative committees to tell all they know. Without Saturday Trump’s tweet yesterday’s politically crushing testimony doesn’t happen…at least not in an open forum for all the world to see. Yet here we had the president tweeting more false allegations in the middle of a congressional hearing impaneled in part to investigate his false allegations.
Adding insult to injury was Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefing to the White House pool. Spicer, speaking for the president, said that to his knowledge the only persons even remotely affiliated with Trump campaign that had contact with the Russians were Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort. Spicer described Flynn as merely a “volunteer” and Manafort as someone who “had a very a limited role for a very limited amount of time.”
In truth Flynn was Trump’s closest advisor during the entire campaign and was eventually named Trump’s National Security Advisor. Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager for 25% of the campaign.
Any discussion concerning the shock factor of this day would not be complete without a brief word about the Republican committee members’ behavior during the day’s hearings.
Democrats came to the hearing prepared to discuss matters pertaining to advertised purpose of the hearing: Trump’s allegations against Obama and Russian interference into the 2016 election. Their questions were on point.
Republican members clearly had a different agenda. They were more interested in determining what the witnesses knew about the source of the leaks of sensitive and classified materials that revealed the improprieties both within and outside the government. Congressman Trey Gowdy was particularly bullish in finding the source of the leaks and getting assurances that those persons would be prosecuted. He was all too happy to throw out names of those he viewed as possible leakers: Obama, Lynch, Rice, Rhodes, Brennan and Clapper…all members of the previous administration.
Republicans were more than pleased when WikiLeaks illegally released tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s incriminating emails. They didn’t seem too interested in outing the source or prosecuting the leakers. Then candidate Trump praised WikiLeaks for making the emails public: “I love WikiLeaks.” He said. Trump even encouraged the Russians to continue their illegal hacking of Clinton’s emails: “Please find the missing 30,000 emails.” I don’t recall watching Republican lawmakers weep and gnash their teeth over the legalities of how the information damaging to Clinton came to light.
We are in the middle of a constitutional crises. The Russians have interfered with our elections and may be actively interfering with our government. Yet Republicans seem more concerned about protecting a lying president than finding the truth.
The fact is that when voters went to the polls on November 8 there was only one candidate under investigation by federal authorities…and it wasn’t Hillary Clinton.
In his closing comments House Committee Chairman Devin Nunez (R-CA) encouraged Director Comey to be thorough in his investigation but to bring it to a conclusion as quickly as possible: “There is a big gray cloud that you’ve now put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country. The sooner you can get to the bottom of this, it’s going to be better for all Americans.”
With all due respect to Congressman Nunez…there is only one person to blame for the cloud of suspicion and uncertainty hanging over this administration. The president.