If there’s anything mitigating the bad news for the White House here, it is that Comey may have also sent subtle signals that the matters under investigation are not principally about the personal conduct of Trump himself. While this is speculation, I do not believe that if Comey had, say, validated large swaths of the Steele dossier or found significant Trump-Russia financial entanglements of a compromising variety, he would have said even as much as he said today. I also don’t think he would have announced the scope of the investigation as about the relationship “between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government” or “coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts”; these words suggest one step of removal from investigating the President himself. If the latter were the case, I suspect Comey wouldn’t have used words suggestive of the Flynn-Manafort-Page cabal.
But that’s reading a lot into a relatively small number of tea leaves. What is clear is that this was a very bad day for the President. In it, we learned that there is an open-ended Russia investigation with no timetable for completion, one that’s going hang over Trump’s head for a long time, and one to which the FBI director is entirely committed.
Benjamin Wittes: How to Read What Comey Said Today – Lawfare
One comment on “Benjamin Wittes: How to Read What Comey Said Today – Lawfare”
Commenting at CK MacLeod's
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Yeah, I read C’s comments as trying to do a variety of things at the same time, having the effect of making interpretation more difficult.
Any investigation of T himself would seem to be conducted in a very closely held way. If there is a there there about T himself, C’s probably got one shot when he goes public. You can’t read the tea leaves until the tea stops roiling around the cup.
If C was describing an ongoing investigation that is “one step away from the president”, how does it not constantly invoke the “what/when did he know it” question, ie be about the pres himself.