At the Congressional Intelligence Committee ‘Open’ Hearings (not classified); FBI Director James Comey dropped what amounted to a bombshell on the Trump administration, America, and the rest of the interested World.
The FBI Director told the Committee and the American people that, authorized by the Department of Justice, the FBI was undertaking a counter-intelligence investigation into efforts by the Russian government, in interfering in the 2016 U.S. Election, ‘and that includes investigating the nature of any links between any individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts’. He went on to state ‘As with any counter-intelligence investigation, this will include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed’.
Now, one thing is clear, the Department of Justice and the FBI would not decide to open ‘a counter-intelligence investigation’ which would include an assessment of possible criminal activity, into a Presidential candidate’s campaign activity - if - there was not sufficient evidence to make them decide that such an investigation was warranted. And if there was enough evidence of serious enough nature to warrant such a dramatic and grave announcement at an open Congressional Committee Hearing, especially since such an action could have a possibly, politically, destabilizing effect on the country, if it resulted in an indictment of someone senior in Trump’s team, or of Donald Trump himself.
We are prefacing these statements on the assumption that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (the 'FBI') are not prone to opening counter-intelligence investigations lightly, especially when it involves the sitting President, members of his team, close advisors, and announcing them in such dramatic a setting, so publicly. The fact that it has happened sent a strong signal to those listening (at least to us) that in the eyes of the DOJ and the FBI, there was enough suspicious activity of Trump and/or his campaign team members and advisors that both law enforcement agencies felt compelled to initiate and announce a counter-intelligence - criminal investigation, in the links between the then Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, his team, his close advisors and Russia.
That information should have galvanized the supposedly bi-partisan congressional committee (as it was touted to be) to be mutually horrified at the possibility of possible criminal, treasonous behavior of a number of prominent American citizens in Trump’s campaign, and thus the subsequent questioning should have been solely – who – what – where – how, in nature. But alas that was not how it went. In spite of being a bi-partisan committee, the tone and questioning of the hearing was blatantly partisan.
The Democrats, understandably, went after the disclosure of Trump team members that were now known to have been consorting with the Russians, and in some instances being paid by them, and/or by other foreign governments. That line of questioning suited their political purposes so they were suitably dogged in trying to ferret out as much information from the Director of the FBI, James Comey, and from the Director of NSA, Mike Rogers, as they possibly could get under the circumstances, which was not much more that what was already known as the investigations are ongoing and therefore ‘classified’.
The Republicans, on the other hand, who lead and control the government and its three main branches, and now generally lead these various committees, were not only not interested in finding out which Trump campaign team member or advisor was doing what, with which Russian, and if any laws were broken, or national interests of America compromised in any way. But, instead, the Republicans were focused almost solely on mitigating and deflecting FBI and NSA disclosures during the hearing, so as to dilute the impact of the statements from the various Intelligence Agencies that actions of people associated with Trump’s campaign warranted a counter-intelligence criminal investigation into links with the Russians.
The Republicans with aggressive righteous outrage focused on drilling down relentlessly (almost solely), on the arguably less harmful aspect (to Trump and the Republican cause) of the various investigations, into finding and prosecuting the ‘leakers’ of classified information to the American Press instead. The Republican Congressmen in the hearing showed almost no concern to the blatant and undoubted (both the FBI and the NSA are confident of that information) dangerous anti-American activity of an adversarial foreign power, being possibly aided and abetted by American citizens, some of whom may now be in the White House. That possibility, did not seem to stir any passionate patriotic American sentiment, certainly not enough to really press the intelligence agencies as to the disclosure of the nature of the anti-American activity of the Trump team, its members and its advisors.
It was shockingly apparent that the Republican’s chief concern was the preservation of the Trump Presidency (their power base), the deflection of the investigation into the less dangerous area of information leaks (apparently ongoing from the very first U.S. Presidency), the mitigation and ultimate burial of the explosive nature of the disclosure of the investigation into Donald Trump and his inner circle by the DOJ and the FBI.
So watching the proceedings of the hearing, dramatic and fascinating as they were, one could not be more dumbfounded by the thought that in today’s America, in spite of the frequent and loud expressions of patriotism by members of the political elite, and by association by the Party faithful, and the American public at large, partisanship trumps patriotism, by far. And that is simply stunning.