Tomorrow (Thursday June 9, 2017) is The End of the Beginning, a big day in the unfolding of America’s future. I, for one, am taking the day off. I need to watch former FBI Director James Brien Comey Jr.’s testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Comey’s testimony is not the end of this tortuous period in our democracy, but it will be a turning point. We are far from the end of this Constitutional puzzle. Will the President be cleared of wrongdoing or will the Russian saga end in impeachment or prosecution? Was Trump colluding with the Russians to disrupt the 2016 election? Is he in deep trouble with the Russian banks? Do they have him by the short hairs? Will he self-destruct? Will the Republicans finally stop ignoring and apologizing for his erratic, ignorant, dangerous rants? However it ends it will be a turning point in the contemporary struggle for the soul of the republic. I’m all in until it’s over.
For 138 days we have been observer-victims of the drip, drip, drip of intelligence leaks. Prior to the election it was the drip, drip, drip of Russian intelligence leaks aided by the self-cloistered Julian Assange dripping Russian hacked, Wiki-leaking Clinton emails from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Since the election it has been the drip, drip, drip of US intelligence and White House leaks concerning the secretive shenanigans of the Trump administration thanks to what has to be the golden age of investigative journalism.
On January 26, 2017, six days after the Trump inauguration, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates met with President Trump to advise him that General Mike Flynn, the National Security Advisor, lied about his conversations with Russian operatives and was thereby vulnerable to blackmail by them. Trump allowed Flynn to continue in his role as NSA for 18 days until it was revealed that he had also lied to VP Pence about his Russian connections. At that point Flynn was fired. Why did it take 18 days to act on Sally Yates information? The Trump team has yet to answer that question.
In the 115 days since Flynn’s firing the White House has been under siege and under investigation. Americans are dying to know why Trump and his associates had so many unreported meetings with Russian operatives (especially the 3 Sergei’s – Ambassador Kislyak, Foreign Minister Laverov, and banker Gorkov) before and after the election.
Why did AG Jeff Sessions, son-in-law Jared Kushner, advisor Carter Page, former Blackwater CEO and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ brother Eric Prince, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, gadfly advisor Roger Stone and others all conceal their encounters with Russian officials and emissaries? It’s a veritable rogues’ gallery of Trump associates.
Why did Trump honor Putin’s request to entertain Kislyak, Laverov, and the TASS news team in the Oval Office and exclude all US media? It’s hard evidence of Putin’s leverage over Trump.
We may never know the answer to these questions. Special Counsel Robert Mueller may keep the contents of recorded conversations and other surveillance under wraps, but soon we will know a lot more about those meetings and their purpose. With four investigations – House, Senate, FBI, and Special Counsel – digging into the Russia scandal we’re likely to part the smoke to see the fire beneath it all.
Was Trump himself compromised during his earlier visits to Russia as the Christopher Steele dossier claims? Did Flynn promise the Russians the new administration would lift the sanctions? Did Trump direct him to assure the Russians everything would be fine after he took office? Did Trump obstruct justice by asking the DOJ, CIA, DNI, and FBI to drop the Russia investigations. Is this where the real power lies now?
Tomorrow signals the end of the beginning; fired FBI Director Comey set to testify in open session to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his personal encounters with President Trump and the reputed presidential attempts to co-opt his investigation, loyalty, and personal honor.
In the last few days the President has seemed increasingly unhinged, tweeting ceaselessly about the TRAVEL BAN (his caps), fake news, Comey’s upcoming testimony, his unhappiness with Jeff Sessions, attacks on the Mayor of London, and the end of Obamacare. Tomorrow should be interesting. Will he live-tweet as the Intelligence Committee receives Comey testimony? If so, it’s not likely to help his case with the committee or the Special Counsel just as his travel ban tweets are likely to be used against him in the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped him from sounding off in other situations. Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye; the President of the United States wants to be heard.