In another chapter of the Trump-Russia-Comey-Sessions-FBI cloud over the Whitehouse, this past week has seen its fair share of drama, when both Mr. Comey and Attorney General Sessions testified in an open hearing before the Senate.
James Comey testified as to various conversations he had with the President. Some of them concerned the investigation into Michael Flynn, while others seemed to pressure him to make it public that Mr. Trump himself was not under investigation. The notable things about Mr. Comey’s testimony were that he admitted to immediately recording his recollections about the conversation he had with Mr. Trump – something that he had never done with any of the two presidents he had previously served under. This is notable because, as any good lawyer knows, a past recollection recorded, if done at or near the time of the event, is admissible testimony in a court of law. As a former attorney, Mr. Comey was aware of this, which makes it all the more compelling. He admitted to the Senate that he recorded these conversations because, essentially, he was afraid that Mr. Trump would not be truthful about their nature in the future.
He was also unequivocal about the fact that Russia, and probably Russian politicians with a lot of power, were involved in attempting to interfere with the electoral process in America. This should leave no doubt as to Russia’s role in the 2016 election; however, there is still some issue as to whether or not anyone within the U.S. government colluded with said actions. What is most interesting about Comey’s testimony is what he would not say in open session. Comey was asked why, after Trump asked him to drop the Flynn case, he didn’t report the conversation to Jeff Sessions. Comey’s response was significant: “[I was] aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an opening setting that would make [Sessions’] continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic,” stating he could elaborate once the session became closed.
This made the environment surrounding AG Sessions’ testimony later on more electric. To that end, it was also what AG Sessions refused to say in an open-setting that had tongues wagging, at least among Democrats. Sessions, not one to mince words, came out swinging, asserting that any insinuation he colluded with the Russians was “an appalling and detestable lie.” One Senator asked Sessions point-blank why he recused himself from the investigation. Sessions responded that he had done so simply because he had been an adviser to Trump during the campaign. However, this does not ring true with Comey’s clues that Sessions was ‘problematic’ for some reason. Finally, Sessions refused to share any details of conversations he had personally had with Mr. Trump, despite the Senate committee’s insistence he do so and in spite of the fact that Mr. Trump has not yet invoked executive privilege. Although it’s not clear what has been discussed between Sessions and Trump, what is clear from the AG’s testimony is that Mr. Trump is decidedly unconcerned with Russia’s role in the election. Session testified that Trump had never expressed any concern about the matter as he recalled, nor was Sessions ever briefed on Russian interference, despite being the country’s top law enforcement official.
This has been made clear by Trump himself, who characterizes the ‘Russia thing’ as both a lie the Democrats have concocted to make themselves feel better about losing, and a cloud over his administration that he’d like removed. It does make one wonder that if the top intelligence agencies in the country (and the world) confirm that Russia did interfere, why there is such a lack of interest in determining how and why it happened, and whether it could be repeated. Perhaps the world will find out if Mr. Trump testifies under oath, as he promised the press corps he would do if asked.