Whether you watched former FBI Director James Comey’s three hours of public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday or not, there were some noteworthy moments that are worth recalling and keeping an eye on as the Trump-Russia matter moves forward. Here are four of the most important:
The Russians Messed With the 2016 Election…Bigly!
Make no mistake, Russia was a major player in Donald Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States. Comey characterized Russian interference as an “active measures campaign” and by definition a hostile attack on the United States. Comey added that Russian hackers, operating on the orders of government officials, interfered with the election. The reason, Comey said, was simple:
“They think this great experiment of ours is a threat to them.”
There was only so much Comey could say on the matter, but he made it clear that Russian interference was a constant factor on the election.
The British “Pee Tape” Dossier Did Come Up
Co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr (R-NC) asked Comey if anything damaging was found in the infamous Steele dossier compiled by British agent Christopher Steele. Comey replied that he was unable to discuss such a matter in an open hearing. Hmm…interesting.
Later, Comey again refused to answer questions on the dossier, which alleged that Trump had paid Russian prostitutes to engage in “golden showers” sex play for his personal amusement. Both of Maine’s Senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, asked about the dossier, but Comey reiterated that it could not be discussed in a public hearing.
Obstruction of Justice Could Well Be on the Table
Comey was pressed on whether or not Trump’s request that he drop the investigation into “good guy” Michael Flynn was indeed obstruction of justice. The former head of the FBI said that would be up to Special Counsel Robert Mueller to determine, but added that he found Trump’s request to be:
“A very disturbing thing, very concerning.”
Mueller has plenty of material to work with if he decides to pursue obstruction of justice. No matter what Fox News and the Trump administration try to say, Trump was indeed ordering Comey to end the investigation.
This Was a Bad Day For Donald Trump
Trump’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, said on Wednesday that the president felt totally “vindicated” by what Comey had published of his opening statement a day before he testified before the committee. That was spin, and it backfired.
What you’ll be hearing now is that Comey confirmed the president wasn’t a focus of the counterintelligence investigation being conducted by the FBI. But that leaves an investigation of criminal conduct wide open for the FBI to look at and charge Trump for. Also, the special counsel is only starting his work. Robert Mueller can subpoena anyone he wants to and can make people appear before a grand jury. This is what should worry Trump the most. If what the president tells Mueller disagrees with sworn testimony from others, Trump has opened himself up to a charge of perjury.
Additionally, Mueller can look into anything he wants to; nothing is off-limits for him. That should also make the White House very nervous no matter what Comey told the committee on Thursday.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org