The giggles from the press gaggle were audible the other day when one reporter apologetically asked Jim Comey for his reaction to the criminal referral drafted by eleven House Republicans. Of course there were no serious follow-up questions. None needed. The DC press corps considers this a joke. They know who the good guys are. Jim Comey was one of them. They know that the noise by this handful of right-wing troublemakers would quickly fade away. It will be swallowed and quickly digested by the DC swamp. End of story. So they could pivot and return their focus to the real stories: Russian Collusion, Stormy Daniels, and of course Sean Hannity.
Two of my first emails of the day asked me essentially the same question. Will this criminal referral result in any serious investigations? I suspect it was a subject of conversation around many water coolers and coffee shops as well. Permit me to share a couple of observations.
I understand why freedom-loving Americans are asking this question. They have witnessed brazen abuses of our criminal justice system. A Secretary of State flouted the law setting up a private server in her downstairs powder room. On which she kept documents so secret that even Members of Congress were barred access. Many of those sensitive documents were ported to an unsecured computer owned by a convicted sexual predator. When documents were subpoenaed by Congress, she was allowed to delete and decide which of those government documents would be delivered. Subsequently the hard drive was scrubbed and bleached. Anyone that might have been squeezed for incriminating testimony was granted immunity by team Comey. All resulting in a frustrating “Move along folks, nothing to see here.”
People who have been paying any attention have become alarmed by the well documented examples of abuses at the highest levels of our FBI and Justice Department. I must admit, I’ve lost track of how many have been fired or reassigned for their abuses. This even before the final OIG report is released. They are shocked that salacious opposition research was used multiple times to secure court ordered surveillance of Team Trump in the final stretch of a Presidential campaign and well into the transition. Worse, they’ve seen real examples of potential Russian collusion involving one team. No hard evidence concerning the other. Yet, all of the energies of the Special Counsel and his partisan team are focused like a laser on the latter. Lying to the FBI, like improper handling of secured documents appear to be rather subjective offenses. Some people are indicted while others get a pass. Some are treated to a guns drawn, middle of the night raids. Others are ignored. Even the sanctity of lawyer-client privilege can be trampled. All while our Attorney General remains in seclusion.
So, why do I think that the gaggle of the Washington press corps may have been a bit premature in their giggles?
First, we have a muscular street fighter in the White House. His approval is trending upward. People are losing patience with his smarmy detractors. Even now, Comey and Mueller are losing ground. The body politic is figuring this out and they have grown weary of the Russian Collusion canard.
Second, Paul Ryan’s decision to step down has created an opportunity to force a serious discussion of these concerns. There will be a campaign to succeed him as Speaker. Every Member of Congress will face the electorate this fall. Republican Members will first have to face GOP activists. If they haven’t figured it out by now, they will soon discover that those activists are not happy about this! To say they see the GOP Leadership’s response to these outrages as tepid would be diplomatic. They want their Republican Representatives to support someone to succeed Ryan who will stand up to this. Someone who will demand that the Department of Justice do its job, turn over documents and get to the bottom of these scandals. They want someone who will fight. Someone who will fight alongside our President. Not hide in the tall grass. They are tired of excuses. I doubt they will be easily mollified.
If I am right, these issues will become central to the campaign for the Speakership. That spirited debate, together with the expected Inspector General’s report will force action by our Attorney General. If activists turn up the heat, I predict the GOP Leadership will begin to see the light.
Then we’ll see who giggles last.