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Comey takes center stage, as the Republican coverup mounts

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Early morning, June 8: We don’t know at this point what Comey will or will not say at today’s hearing. But we do know what happened yesterday, when The RussiaGate Four—Coats, Rosenstein, Rogers and McCabe—stonewalled their way through and made history with their illegal non-answers before a Senate Committee empowered with their oversight.

The optics of that were a disaster for them. As I posted yesterday, They now find their professional reputations in tatters—like those of almost everyone else associated with this president.”

Flynn? His career is destroyed. Kellyanne Conway? She’s a punchline. Sean Spicer? Two words: Melissa McCarthy. Rex Tillerson? From all-powerful CEO to licking Trump’s boots. Devin Nunes? Trump’s lackey in the Congress. Betsy DeVos? The billionaire who wants to destroy public schools. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell? Grinning baboons carrying Trump’s water. Mike Pence? A servile, conscienceless drone. Jeff Sessions? Lucky if he’s not indicted. And the Republican Party, overall? “Democratic Edge in Party Affiliation Up to Seven Points: Democrats 45%, Republicans 38%,” according to the latest Gallup Poll.

Donald J. Trump is King Midas in reverse: everything he touches turns to dross.

It’s sad for The RussiaGate Four, I suppose. All are said to have given long and honorable service to their country. But look how quickly that can erode. All it took was the obvious coordination of their non-answers, the way they were scripted, their affronts to the Senators and thus to the Constitution, their dodging, their smirking, their frat-boy winking at each other and at friendly Republican Senators, the look in their eyes that telegraphed to the world how guilty they knew they were, the way everyone knew they are not members of the conspiracy to conceal.

In an hour, all four went from “distinguished public servant” to “joined the coverup.”

All eyes now turn to Comey.

No one knows what he’s going to say. His lengthy “Statement for the Record,” released yesterday, is a bombshell. Still, the Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee appear hell-bent on doing everything they can to continue the coverup: we already know that “a furious and frustrated Trump” and his surrogates are prepared to attack Comey with everything they have. The smearing has started, with the right wing “Great America Alliance” creating TV ads calling Comey “just another DC insider only in it for himself.” It’s ridiculous, of course—no sane person believes it–but we’re reached a point where Republicans have divorced themselves from sanity and are left with nothing but emotional appeals to their low-information base.

So, I suspect we’re going to end up with the same Rorschach test we’ve had with Trump all along: the evangelical-tea party will claim he’s been exonerated, while the rest of us will adjudge that, at the very least, Trump tried to obstruct justice. (And let’s not forget that some of Trump’s surrogates may well end up being charged with the crime of colluding with Russia in our election.)

But Trump’s involvement will be he-said, she-said: Comey will say he “felt” pressured to drop the investigation of Flynn. Trump and his surrogates will say that Comey’s “feelings” are irrelevant, that what counts are facts, and that Trump never pressured Comey. And we, the American people, will be no closer to the truth.

There’s supposedly no way to indict a sitting president; the only Constitutional way to hold one to account is through Impeachment. Since Impeachment is a political process, it’s unlikely the House of Representatives will do anything, regardless of how strong the evidence is. The current crop of Republicans in the House is virtually 100% evangelical (which means they do not answer to the Constitution, but to a “higher cause” they think of as a God that has taken sides with the Republican Party) and/or 100% tea party, which means they are fueled by anger and resentment, but not by facts, reason or law. We Americans therefore have to consider the very real possibility that Trump will get off scott free, even though a majority of us believe that he committed serious crimes.

When and if Trump feels he’s home free—that he could “shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and his voters wouldn’t care”—he will tell himself he’s invincible and invulnerable and “vindicated,” to use the silly word coined yesterday by his lawyer. Those close to him—Ryan, McConnell and the compromised Republican establishment—will be his echo chamber. “They tried to destroy you, Mr. President, but they couldn’t,” they will tell him. The right wing media will hammer the message home: “The Pelosi-Schumer Democrats threw every smear they could find at the president and failed.” Everybody on the right will become emboldened, and the further on the right they are, the bolder they’ll be. Throw in one big domestic terror attack, and America as we’ve known and loved her may be a thing of the past.

I really hope I’m wrong.

 

  1. Bob Henry says:

    From The New York Times Online
    (June 8, 2017):

    “Comey’s Testimony Sharpens Focus on Questions of Obstruction”

    Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/us/politics/trump-legal-comey-hearing.html?action=click&contentCollection=us&module=NextInCollection&region=Footer&pgtype=article&version=newsevent&rref=collection%2Fnews-event%2Fdonald-trump-white-house

    By Charlie Savage
    Staff Reporter

    — AND —

    From The New York Times Online
    (June 8, 2017):

    “Trump, Comey and Obstruction of Justice: A Primer”

    Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/us/politics/obstruction-of-justice-trump-comey.html?action=click&contentCollection=Politics&module=RelatedCoverage&region=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article

    By Charlie Savage
    Staff Reporter

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