By State Representative, Leon D. Young
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, finds himself amid another political firestorm. Mr. Comey testifying before the House Intelligence Committee last week announced that his agency is investigating whether members of President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
This was the first public acknowledgement of the case by that agency. The F.B.I. discloses its investigations only in rare circumstances, when officials believe it is I the public interest.
The director also dismissed Mr. Trump’s scurrilous claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama’s administration during the campaign. A sensational accusation that Trump has yet to date has provided no evidence to support.
The F.B.I. director is a very interesting case study – to say the least. We all remember Comey’s rash and imprudent decision to cast his agency directly into the 2016 presidential campaign — just 12 days before the election. Ultimately, this decision would have a detrimental effect on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and, in retrospect, helped to alter the outcome.
This notion that Russia was trying to interfere in our election is not a new accusation. Let’s not forget that CNN had reported last October that Mr. Comey fought successfully to keep his agency’s name off a government report regarding evidence that Russia was attempting to interfere in the presidential election.
This begs the question: What was his rationale for having done so? He believed the report was accurate but did not want to sign on to it so close to the election.
Comey’s announcement placed a criminal investigation squarely at the doorstep of the White House, as he insisted that his agency would pursue it “no matters how long that takes.”
But the response from Republicans on Capitol Hill was particularly striking: During Comey’s 5½ hours of testimony, Republican lawmakers repeatedly shrugged off its implications and instead offered a coordinated effort to defend Mr. Trump by demanding a focus on leaks to news organizations.
This has become one of the new political strategies that the GOP employs to deflect (and mislead) legitimate questions by the media. After all, Mr. Trump firmly insists that “Russia is fake news,” and his surrogates fervently toe the line.
In truth, Trump’s histrionics should be viewed for exactly what they are: Calculated distractions intended to keep one from peering behind the curtain of lies that he routinely espouses.