Comey: “No wiretapping.” Trump must apologize
In today’s hearings before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI director James Comey assured us, “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”
Why should we believe him? This is the man whose anti-Hillary interference in the recent election resulted in Trump’s victory and, in so doing, Comey may well have violated U.S. law.
The committee’s tea party chairman, Nunes, immediately let the world know how unseriously he takes his own committee’s hearings by asking the most ridiculous, irrelevant question of Comey and Rogers: Is there any evidence that the Russians tinkered with election results in a half-dozen states Trump won? The answer from both of them was an emphatic “No.”
Look, nobody ever suggested Russia physically interfered with voting results in individual states. No one, ever, period, hard-stop. The influence on American voters by the Russians was psychological, not technical: Comey’s announcement, one week before Election Day, that Hillary Clinton was a target of investigation caused enough swing voters to vote for Trump and against her. So, again, this red herring from Nunes was dastardly, and one can only conclude that his mind is made up: he is determined that nothing damaging will be found against the Trump administration, and no matter what anyone says, Chairman Nunes is going to protect his President, his party, and his majority in the Congress.
That is not patriotism; that is not justice; that is not bipartisan. It is a coverup.
Another smokescreen the Republican congressmen, particularly Gowdy, threw up was to focus on the leaks, which they professed outraged them—and, incidentally, to which they ascribed political, personal, “nefarious” motives, rather than high-minded whistleblowing. Of course the Republicans want to shift attention to the leaking, because they want to divert attention away from the content of those leaks. This, too, is shameful. America’s integrity is at stake here: the very soul of our democracy—our electoral integrity–is on the line, and what are Republican worried about? Leaks. (And by the way, Republicans had no problem when Trump urged Putin to leak Hillary’s emails—which he did. A little hypocrisy here.)
But the real action yesterday was Comey and Trump’s lie that Obama wiretapped him. Schiff got the action going, citing Trump’s libelous slander of Obama. “Was the President’s statement true?
Comey: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”
Schiff: “The President accused Obama and the FBI of engaging in McCarthyism. Do you agree?”
Comey: “All I can tell you is we have no information about that.”
Well, that’s it. Comey himself said it out loud, for everyone to hear: “No information that supports those tweets.”
While I watched the hearings I had Trump’s two Twitter pages onscreen. He seems to use @realDonaldTrump more profligately than @POTUS; often, @real refers to events almost immediately upon their occurrence. In this case, Trump’s most recent tweet went up several hours before the hearings began, but they tell us he was already worried. “What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?”
Interesting how he tried to deflect attention away from Comey’s testimony even before he (Trump) knew what Comey was going to say! Has there been any suggestion whatsoever about Clinton campaign contact with the Russians? None that I’ve heard. Clearly another invention, like “Obama tapped my phones.” And what’s this about the Democratic National Committee? Have you heard anything about that? Me, neither. Another smokescreen.
So, really, this should end it. Comey pounded the last nail into the “Obama tapped Trump Tower” coffin. It didn’t happen—and Trump is going to have to deal with the political fallout and embarrassment of his lie, as well as to apologize for slurring President Obama and lying to the American people. But—to mix metaphors—there are more shoes to drop: Roger Stone, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, for starters.