Drawing The Line

Comey’s Testimony Is Drawing a Line In the Sand That Is Separating Two Realities

In the world of politics, rarely do events live up to the hype that they so easily generate.

Last Thursday saw just such an exception. In what could prove to be a defining moment of the Trump presidency, James Comey’s testimony proved to be as explosive as promised. From Democracy Now:

Fired FBI Director James Comey testified Thursday that President Trump tried to derail an investigation into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s links to Russia, and accused Trump of lying about why he was fired. Comey testified that he documented every meeting he had with Trump because he thought the president might lie about what had taken place, and said he leaked the meeting details to the media in order to spur the appointment of a special counsel. “From a political point of view, we know that one of the biggest flaws in Donald Trump’s presidency, his candidacy, his ability to be president, is that he’s a serial fabricator,” says Mehdi Hasan. “Now you have the former top law enforcement officer of this country going in front of the Senate, under oath, saying those are lies, plain and simple.”

The testimony was particularly damning coming from Comey, who, regardless of what one may think of him personally, is known for taking meticulous notes. He did not hold back from referring to the president as a liar on several occasions.

The Backlash

Trump himself fired back of course, sending off a series of tweets accusing Comey of being a “liar and a leaker”, basically forcing members of his own party to chose a side. Republicans are still largely standing by Trump, and some are acting as enablers of his reckless behavior, according to Brian Beutler of the New Republic:

Trump is making an ass of himself while congressional Republicans are insulting your intelligence. The story that Trump and Kasowitz are telling the world is riddled through with contradictions: Comey’s untrustworthy, but his testimony vindicating; Comey is a shady leaker, but his leaks are fake, and therefore defamatory claims, not leaks at all.

There has been some pushback from Republicans specifically against the president’s smearing of the former FBI director, but it remains to be seen how effective this dissent will be.

Lawyering Up

Bob Bauer of Lawfare examines the issue of conflict of interest with regards to this matter, focusing on the fact that he has hired private lawyer to represent him essentially against the government, which he is still in charge of. This paradoxical situation is wholely in keeping with this administration’s strategy of creating chaos and thereby muddying the waters surrounding its missteps. From Lawfare:

The White House and the Department of Justice may be going through a major breakdown in the observation of the disciplines essential to separating public from private interest and to the observation of norms on which the rule of law depends. Those officials in a position to do something about it may be unwilling or unable to act. It is certain that, whatever the reason, they have been ineffective. Now Trump has his private lawyer at his side and in the thick of things in the West Wing, and the outlook for regular legal order is not improving.

The actions of the president would most certainly be universally opposed by Republicans as an act of tyranny had they been committed by his predecessor. Their silence on this matter is the height of hypocrisy.

We are witnessing dual realities playing out before our very eyes, where the same facts are being interpreted by those who support Trump in a completely different way than the rest of the world. In this, they show no signs of slowing down or reversing course. How far down are they willing to be led?

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