Hi folks! I know I’ve been away for some time. There have been a series of life crises that have kept me from writing for some time. I’ll explain later. For the moment I just wanted to put out my first thoughts on the Senate hearings going on just now.
I’ve just heard all the opening statements. There are three takeaways that come shining plainly through.
- After Sen. Warner’s statement there is no doubt at all that this has absolutely nothing to do with the investigation. These hearings are about – at least for the Democrats – overthrowing the sitting President. No more. No less. It will be nothing more than a circus. For all practical purposes, he called President Trump a threat to the nation. Not by name, but only a fool could miss the intent and he made clear his goal to remove the threat.
- Special Counsel Mueller is not going to find any collusion or illegal activities on Trump. If the opening statements are any clue, by the time the public testimony is over Comey will be at best a compromised witness. If there was even a remote chance that he would have anything material in the “real” investigation, what I just heard Comey say would never have been allowed. Particularly so, since his statement was reviewed and vetted by the Special Counsel office.
- Comey is absolutely going to use this as an opportunity for payback. That is hardly a surprise, though. I don’t care which side you’re on – Trump’s, Democrats’, or the truth – that is to be expected. What I didn’t expect was for it to be so blatant. From a legal perspective I wouldn’t have thought he’d want to undermine his credibility, though from a political perspective it could be calculated to do as much damage as possible. If I’m right about #2, then I suppose this doesn’t matter.
One side note, though. Sen. Burr did say something that is interesting in his statement. He has re-opened the door for this investigation to lead to Hillary and/or Obama. I’m not sure whether this should be taken as an actual threat to the Democrats, but it should at least be a warning to be careful of what you wish for.
To close, I have no doubt that this is going to weaken the public faith in our government, but probably not in a way that the press and Democrats anticipate. If Trump support – which is very different from approval – hasn’t been shaken yet, then this circus is unlikely to do so. I simply don’t see this leading to an impeachment or a resignation. More likely, I believe, is that this will even further compromise the public confidence in Congress. At best, it will validate the “swamp drainers” leading to more electoral bloodletting of incumbents. At worst it could lead to – with the already deteriorating confidence in the courts – a presidency with authoritarian powers that far outstrip the worst of Obama’s abuses. That takes us to a very bad place.