Friday, June 9, 2017

Comey Joins Some of the Legendary Hearings

Congress periodically produces hearings that change political history. It’s not clear if the James Comey testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (June 8th) will just be another bizarre event in the first 140 days of the Trump presidency or if it produces more serious and long-term damage.

Three recent high-profile congressional hearings had significant impact on the respective presidents. John Dean’s testimony was powerful in the Watergate crisis of President Nixon, but it was the existence of and then refusal to turn over tapes that led to Nixon’s resignation. President Reagan, with considerable help, survived Iran Contra, but his reputation was damaged. Oliver North’s career was launched. Republicans were seen as overreaching in the Lewinski impeachment and ended up losing seats in 1998 and Newt Gingrich his Speakership.

So, in which category will the Comey testimony fall under? Comey did make a case for obstruction that will linger. Collusion with Russia is mostly the prerogative of the Special Counsel, but at least four congressional committees have some jurisdiction and much interest over the issue. (See blog: Accelerated Investigation Cycle)

Trump’s problems are mostly political. Even though he will survive the hearing and testimony, Comey reinforced what the majority of Americans already believe – Donald Trump is hiding something.

James Comey testifies in front of Senate Intelligence Committee, Jun. 8, 2017 | Reuters

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