Starting this morning and lasting well into the afternoon, FBI Director James Comey and NSA director Admiral Michael Rogers appeared before the House Intelligence Committee to answer questions from committee members about Donald Trump's allegations that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in 2016 and about all of the media coverage and speculation surrounding Trump's ties to Russia in general.
I was glued to the screen, mostly because — seemingly in contrast to a Washington Post opinion piece — to me, this feels like history slowly unfolding...or unraveling, as the case may be.
Yes, a lot of people asked a lot of questions that were met with a lot of "I'm not going to comment on that" responses. But two important points were covered:
- Comey confirmed that there is no evidence that Trump Tower was wiretapped. Now, whether or not you put that in quotation marks, that's up to you. But I think we need to make a clear distinction: That's it. The investigation into that allegation has been completed, and it defies Trump's claims. Sean Spicer, of course, continues to stand by the allegations. Which is as unsurprising as it is ridiculous.
- He also confirmed for the first time, although it was widely assumed, that the FBI is currently investigating the alleged links between Trump, his associates and Russia.
I agree with the Post in the sense that there was a lot of partisan passion being flung back and forth in the form of carefully worded questions and emotional statements from committee members, but at the risk of sounding complacent, at this point in our contentious political climate, would you really expect anything less? Committee members were, at times, showy, loud, angry and annoyed. They asked questions they knew they wouldn't get answers to — because sometimes the point is, simply, that the question must be asked. Everyone who spoke, it was clear, wanted their line of thinking to be in the spotlight, even if there would be no answers today. And that's fine — that is a freedom that we as Americans are lucky to claim.
So Comey and Rogers may have been sitting in front of the committee for several hours with the only gain being the official publication of those two statements. If that's the case, I'm fine with that — for today. And although Republicans would try to wave off the hearing and any investigations as — I shudder to say it — fake news, I remain optimistic. It has only been two months since the inauguration, and a lot has happened — and I certainly don't mean that the way Trump does, always attempting to redirect our attention away from the latest scandal. In a sense, we are fortunate that Trump tweets, speaks and acts the way he does, because he continues to dig himself into an ever deeper hole. (I mean that only to a certain degree, of course — because some of his mis-steps truly are, arguably, a threat to our national security.)
I believe this will all continue to unravel; the hearing today, while not groundbreaking, is a step in the right direction; and none of this is going away. If Russia does not sink Trump, something else will. It's only a matter of time.
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