It was Comey Day on Capitol Hill today and the former FBI Director’s testimony revealed a number of extremely important items.
Trump was not directly under investigation in the initial sweep, however that is a literal interpretation of the investigation. The top ranks of his campaign were under investigation and thus he was inevitably caught up in it, though individuals like Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort were the initial targets, rather than Trump himself.
Comey revealed that due to his disgust with the administration’s lies (a discomfort he did not share when interacting and working directly with George W. Bush and Barack Obama) he had a friend leak a memo he wrote about an interaction he had with Trump to spur the selection of a special counsel to lead the investigation. Robert Mueller was eventually chosen.
With that said, there weren’t any fireworks. Comey didn’t comment on collusion (presumably because it is still under investigation). There wasn’t any in depth exploration into the details of the criminal cases against Michael Flynn or Paul Manafort.
But two extremely important details that were somewhat overlooked in the wake of Comey’s revelations about his leak and Trump’s treatment of him during the firing could prove critical in the coming weeks and months.
First, Jeff Sessions may be far more involved in this mess than initially thought. While we know about the activities of the other prime suspects in carrying out any collusion level activities (Trump, Kushner, Flynn, Manafort, Page and Stone) Sessions name came up in a very interesting context. Comey mentioned that before his meetings with Russian officials were disclosed, he was already facing issues that Comey could not comment on in an open setting, issues so serious that they might merit recusal. What could those issues be?
Second, the Russian state bank VEB is an extremely critical part of the case. The issues surrounding the bank are so sensitive that even for background/context they cannot be discussed in public. As a reminder, VEB is the bank who had representatives meet with Jared Kushner after the election and a server in Trump Tower was found to be communicating with a Russian bank in October 2016.
The Comey testimony changes nothing in terms of the need for us to vote, call our representatives, protest and demand an independent investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. If we are to remove this tyrant, we must act, we cannot wait for a savior to do so.