I happen to have seen various GOP Senators this afternoon. Trust me: Basically, they're not just concerned. They're pretty terrified. https://t.co/WopZ2LiseR
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 8, 2017
Donald Trump could kill and eat a small child on the White House lawn and he would not be impeached be this Congress https://t.co/Ce6OATN0NS
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) June 8, 2017
As I stated earlier, the Comey testimony didn’t lead me to believe the GOP is serious about holding Donald Trump accountable for his actions–past, present or future ones. If anything, leading members of the GOP spoke publicly about the fired FBI director post-hearings like a spurned lover, bitter because he was dumped, not the target of obstruction of justice.
Lindsey Graham made him sound like Jean Harris: “Comey should be upset by the way he was fired. It was pretty tacky. Take this for what it’s all worth: A good man, Comey, who’s upset and in many ways, got a reason to be upset. But I don’t believe the president committed a crime.”
Maybe as Bill Kristol suggested in the top tweet, the hearings postmortem by Republicans was all a poker-faced show of solidarity performed on a stage that’s been set on fire, but Rick Wilson’s caustic take seems more likely.
Excerpts follow from two articles, one which believes impeachment became more likely today and the second which relates the GOP desire to turn the page on the whole sordid mess.
From Richard Wolffe’s reaction in the Guardian:
The Republican reaction was as great a curiosity to behold as Trump’s infatuation with Putin’s Russia. As James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, told the Australian press this week: “I have had a very hard time reconciling the threat the Russians pose to the United States with the inexplicably solicitous stance President Trump has taken with respect to Russia.”
We all have had a really hard time with this one. No wonder Clapper also said that Watergate pales in comparison to Trump’s collusion with Russia and the firing of Comey.
And that’s where Trump made his biggest mistake. Because James Comey is an elite athlete of Washington and Donald Trump, well, isn’t.
Comey paces himself, warming up a day early with the release of his written testimony. Then he opens the proceedings with an off-the-cuff slam dunk on Donald Trump’s head.
He uses his team to leak his landmark memos about all those freakish meetings with Trump, knowing they will lead to a special counsel. He can play offense by assassinating Trump’s character. He can play defense by staying safely behind classified information and the integrity of FBI investigations.
And he can fake his opponents far better than they can. “Look, I’ve seen the tweet about tapes,” he told the good senators in his best boy scout voice. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
Lordy, we all hope there are tapes and memos between now and the end of the Trump era. In the meantime, there are dozens of lines of inquiry to keep Comey’s former FBI employees busy forevermore.
What, for instance, is the point of a back channel using Russian communications, like the one Jared Kushner apparently wanted to set up?
“I’m not going to comment on whether that happened in an open setting,” Comey began rather coyly. “But the primary risk is obvious. You spare the Russians the cost and effort to break into our communications channels by using theirs. You make it a whole lot easier for them to capture all of your conversations. Then to use those to the benefit of Russia against the United States.”
And now, with the firing of Comey, Trump has made it a whole lot easier to get himself impeached.•
From a Politico piece by Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim:
James Comey brought the biggest circus Washington has seen in years to the Capitol Thursday, confirming word-for-word the reports that President Donald Trump urged him to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn and swear loyalty to the president. Comey even said he kept memos because he feared the president would lie about their conversations.
Republicans’ reaction? Essentially, a collective yawn.
“It’s sort of like the build-up to a big Super Bowl game and everybody gets disappointed. You saw the countdown on all the TVs,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who sat through most of the hearing in person even though he does not sit on the Intelligence Committee. “They were expecting a bombshell, what they got was a confirmation of what we knew already. There was very little new information.”
But do revelations from the former FBI director himself that Trump gave him “direction” to shut down an investigation into the former national security adviser or that Comey believes he was fired to derail the broader probe into Trump’s associates’ ties with Russia offer new reason for alarm?
“No,” Tillis said. “It’s like I keep on saying. Y’all think I’m a broken record. Let’s solve health care, let’s solve taxes, let’s move on.”•