Analysis by Reporting San Diego
May 19, 2017 (San Diego) President Donald Trump took off from Andrews Air Force base for his first foreign trip. When he lands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he will have less political capital than he did when it was wheels up at Andrews. These are a series of fast moving events. It is to the point that if something is leading the news or breaking, it will be replaced soon enough
So here are some of the major developments for the day. Former Director James Comey will testify after Labor Day in open session before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The second is that the president referred to Comey.
According to the New York Times:
I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”
This confirms the feeling that the president wanted to get rid of Comey because of the Russian investigation. Under the impressions of lay people, this looks like obstruction of justice. We are not near impeachment yet. This is the beginning of a process.
The account was not denied by White House Spokesman Sean Spicer. However, according to the Same story:
“By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia,” Mr. Spicer said. “The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.”
And we also know that the White House lawyers are looking into impeachment proceedings. While we are really not even close to that point, it is wise to do so at this point.
Then there is another development. The Washington Post went on to tell us that there was a person of Internet in the White House. Later on, the UK Independent among others identified this person as Jared Kushner, the president’s son in law.
There are a few things to be said about this. Events are starting to accelerate. If you were around during Watergate, you may remember that the first year and a half did not have these many revelations. We are not even in the first year. At the time We had a few thieves arrested for a break-in. They were arraigned in night court, and two reporters started asking questions. That is the beginning of Watergate.
When President Richard Nixon won reelection, this issue was not even something most in the media, or anywhere else, spoke much about. This feels like a very mature scandal, and when the president lands in Saudi Arabia, wheels on the ground, he will have less political capital than when he left Washington. His lawyers are already looking at how impeachment happens. We have to wonder if he is going to finally hire lawyers to defend him? We also need to ask if President Trump will finally develop some discipline with his Twitter habit. He has dug this hole and keeps digging every time he tweets. His initial conflict with now former FBI Director Comey came from his tweets regarding being listened to in Trump Tower. People demanded the evidence of this.
He has done other things, such as say that is a witch hunt. But he has also admitted that he fired Director Comey to slow the investigation into Michael Flynn and his alleged contacts with Russian agents, as well as him not registering as a foreign agent for Turkey.
Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee should bring memories of John Dean, White Counsel for Richard Nixon, before the House Committee. Comey might start to put the full puzzle together for the American people. There is a good reason for the White House to be concerned about a possible impeachment. After all, one of the charges during the Articles of Impeachment for Nixon was obstruction of justice. Incidentally, so it was for Bill Clinton almost two decades later.
We are in somewhat uncharted territory. However, a lot of this we have gone through during Watergate. Mueller does have the authority of a U.S. District Attorney, and it is wide spanning. He is also expected to be very well resourced.
There is a fact though. This is not just a legal procedure. This is also a political one. Republicans are starting to show nervousness. Both the House and Senate might be in play in 2018. And one reason they are starting to get nervous? The president’s polling continues to hit bottom and breaking through it. Right now it is at 38 percent.