Sunday, June 11, 2017

One Can Only Hope

[T]he president, who broke his Twitter silence less than eight hours [after James Comey's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing testimony], may be in a similar position to Theresa May. He survived for sure, but with a self-inflicted wound that could yet prove mortal.


What Comey did not say may ultimately prove as telling as what he did. [...] Although he declined to describe Trump’s plea on behalf of Michael Flynn as obstruction of justice, Comey made the first public suggestion that Mueller will investigate the president himself. “That’s a conclusion that I’m sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offence,” he said.


[W]hen the ex-FBI director was asked if the direction of the investigation could include the president, he carefully replied: “As I explained, the concern of one of my senior leader colleagues was, if you’re looking at potential coordination between the campaign and Russia, the person at the head of the campaign is the candidate. So, logically, this person argued, the candidate’s knowledge, understanding, will logically become a part of your inquiry if it proceeds.”

And it will.
Sessions, already rumoured to be at odds with his boss, is due to appear at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, and Democrats have said they will use it as an opportunity to grill him about Russian contacts.


Then there was a seemingly trivial but telling detail: Trump’s chronic incuriosity about Russia’s attack on American democracy. Comey could not recall the president asking about it but gave a dire, heartfelt warning of Moscow’s aggressive intentions. David Axelrod, former campaign manager for Barack Obama, tweeted: “Apart from obstruction issue, the most troubling aspect of Comey’s testimony was @POTUS evident lack of interest in Russian cyber attack.”

And with a sense of political theatre, Comey also dangled the Nixonian prospect of secret tape recordings for Mueller to go after. “I’ve seen the tweet about tapes,” he said. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
I don't think there ever were. Trump likes to throw out empty threats. But if there were, there aren't now.
Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant and pollster, reflected: “It was worse than it needed to be [for Trump] but not as bad as it could have been. There’s a line in the Simon and Garfunkel song The Boxer: “A man hears what he wants to hear/ And disregards the rest.”
But courts don't.
“If you’re a Trump fan, you think Comey broke the law by leaking documents. If you’re a Trump foe, you think there’s enough to impeach the president. There’s something here for everyone and that means everyone is hurt. It’s so bad for American democracy.”


Lisa Kern Griffin, a law professor at Duke University, said: “It is an enormously complex investigation. A case of this type – even without the national security dimensions, the international financial evidence, and the context of electoral politics – would ordinarily take years for federal agents to investigate.
Luckily for us, the FBI has been at it for longer than it's been on the public radar.
“There is some urgency to this, and no doubt the special counsel and his team will move as quickly as possible, but they also have to be especially careful. It will be months or even years before they reach any definitive conclusions.”
Months, would be my guess.

The version I watched of Comey's testimony never showed the desk plaque. Several of the Senators referred to him as Director Comey, but it looks like he was also officially referred to thusly. Is that like "president"? A title for life?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

No comments: