The New York Times has interviewed a friend of former FBI Director James Comey, who said that at an event with Donald Trump, James Comey tried to blend with the curtains by wearing a dark blue suit. He did not want to make waves or appear too friendly, fearing it would look like a partisan visit. However, James Comey will leave the curtains soon, and go public again with testimony that could be a game changer for Donald Trump.
The James Comey curtains incident occurred in the Blue Room of the White House in January, and was a ceremony for law-enforcement officials. It was two days after Trump’s inauguration. Benjamin Wittes, a friend of James Comey, and also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and editor-in-chief of Lawfare, talked to the New York Times about it.
Mr. Wittes says James Comey didn’t even want to go to the event. He also said on his own blog, James Comey also didn’t want to go to the now famous dinner between he and Mr. Trump one week later. It is outside the norm of conventional standards for an FBI Director to have dinner with a president, and James Comey knew it.
So, the James Comey curtains incident occurred in the Blue Room. Now, James Comey is set to do the exact opposite, by going very public with information that he has about his experiences with Donald Trump, and how that has or has not impacted the multiple Trump Russia investigations in process.
James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee at a date currently unscheduled. It is expected to occur some time after Memorial Day.
This is not the only House committee investigating the current allegations that the Trump transition team colluded with Russia to interfere with Elections 2016. It serves as a good starting point to examine the facts on the multiple and current Trump Russia investigations in progress, in the House, the Senate, and in the Department of Justice.
The possibility of a Donald Trump impeachment is on the tips of everybody’s tongues in light of all of these multiple investigations. With that, many rumors and fake news blogs are coming to light to suggest the formal impeachment process has already begun. This is incorrect.
Impeachment is a very public process with Constitutional guidelines. It begins with the House Judiciary Committee, and nowhere else. There are no public records to date to suggest the Donald Trump impeachment process has begun.
There are however many public records on the multiple ongoing investigations currently happening in Congress, and in the Department of Justice and intelligence agencies. What is true, is that James Comey is leaving the curtains, and this could be another game changer for the Trump Administration.
The first investigation that everybody is talking about in light of James Comey firing is the Department of Justice investigation. Recent bombshell reports from outlets such as the Washington Post and the New York Times have suggested that Donald Trump fired James Comey to squash the Trump Russia investigation.
If that is true, that is obstruction of justice. Also, if that is true Donald Trump was not successful.
There is still very much an active and ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the Trump Russia allegations. With news that Trump may have fired Comey to stop the investigation, a special prosecutor was born as part of this investigation.
The Guardian reports that the FBI investigation is a counter-intelligence investigation in one prong. Robert Mueller as newly-appointed special prosecutor will be looking for any crimes related to this scandal. That includes crimes that may occur in the process of the investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, or eluding.
James Comey has confirmed in an open hearing that a grand jury is sitting on the matter, and indictments could be pending. There is no public information to suggest arrests are imminent, or that they involve Donald Trump himself. Any suggestions otherwise to date are false.
As it was the Trump transition team being first investigated in the Trump Russia allegations, if there are arrests imminent, they will likely start in the Trump team. We know that Michael Flynn has already worked to make a plea deal, and he was unsuccessful. We also know that Paul Manafort has retained legal counsel.
The next set of investigations happening on the Trump Russia scandal are happening in the 115th Congress at the committee level, and there are many. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating, House Oversight and Government Reform is investigating, House Judiciary is investigating, and so is the Senate Judiciary Committee.
There is also an active Treasury Department investigation. They are seeking financial records of Trump, and also of former Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort for money laundering allegations reports Quartz.
The outcomes of each of these investigations will vary. The Senate Committees can recommend criminal prosecution if the evidence warrants it.
This is unlikely with a special prosecutor now in charge, who will take on the role of investigating the criminal element of this investigation, if there is one. That a special prosecutor is now in charge is indeed a sign that the Justice Department suspects more crimes will come out in the course of the investigation.
Beyond recommending criminal prosecution, the House Committees can only lead to impeachment. Their role is to determine if the people in government are abiding by their oath of office. If they find that they aren’t, impeachment proceedings of any official in question will begin and will begin in the House Judiciary Committee only, nowhere else.
The Department of Defense is also reportedly investigating the entire scandal about former Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for the Office of the Inspector General says Flynn is being investigated for violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, and for possibly violating Department of Defense regulations.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also known as Senate Intelligence, is also investigating. This is when James Comey will leave the curtains once again. He is expected to testify after Memorial Day, on issues related to his firing, and on Russia’s interference with Elections 2016.
The Senate Intelligence Committee started their investigation with seven staff, but have reportedly hired two more at the end of April. They are also using support staff to draw up subpoenas for documentation. Carter Page, a former Trump associate and campaign worker, has been asked for documents.
Michael Flynn has also been subpoenaed for documents, after initially declining to provide the documents on his own accord. If he continues to refuse to comply, it would be a contempt of Congress matter which is a crime, punishable by jail time.
An aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee says that the level of sharing of information between the FBI and their committee is unprecedented, and all agencies are cooperating fully. They also say this cooperation is not expected to end, just because James Comey was terminated as FBI Director.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is another investigation currently in progress. They are investigating the departure of Michael Flynn, the role of the Department of Justice in that departure.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified on May 8 that she advised White House Counsel on January 26 that she felt Flynn could be blackmailed by the Russians. She was then fired. There are no current dates on the calendar for the Senate Judiciary Committee for this matter, although that could change at any time.
The House Intelligence Committee is also investigating the Trump Russia scandal. Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff is a ranking member of the committee. He is a former prosecutor with decades of experience investigating and prosecuting Russia cases.
This investigation has been delayed multiple times, and led to the recusal of chairman Devin Nunes from the investigation after Nunes took a trip to the White House to discuss the committee’s work with Donald Trump.
As many have opined since that event, that is akin to the prosecutor in a criminal trial taking evidence to the accused before taking it to the investigating body of the court. Devin Nunes is still on the committee, but not on the investigation.
His replacement, Republican Mike Conway of Texas, has historically been critical of Donald Trump’s pro-Russia position.
We also know that the CIA is involved in the Trump Russia investigation, and have been working an intelligence gathering effort overseas. The CIA can not arrest or perform investigations on American soil, but they can and do report their findings to Americans. With this scandal alleged to include a foreign and enemy state, the CIA has been very involved.
CIA Director Brennan is set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in an open hearing on May 23.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is the final committee investigating the Trump Russia scandal. They are very curious about the circumstances around Michael Flynn’s firing, and Mike Pence’s involvement or knowledge of the events surrounding that. As Inquisitr reported, Mike Pence received a letter about Michael Flynn in November outlining some concerns and problem areas and then hired Michael Flynn anyway.
The House Oversight Committee has said they have three investigations open on the Trump Russia scandal. One is investigating a possible cover up, another is investigating Russia collusion, and the third is investigating Russian hacking.
The White House has been contacted by Oversight seeking documentations related to Michael Flynn. Thus far, they have declined to comply with those requests. Democrats have sought a meeting with the White House on the matter, with one staffer saying, “All we have heard is crickets.”
The Republican chair of the committee, Jason Chaffetz, would be the party responsible for pushing this issue. He is not pushing for any information beyond Michael Flynn. He has also just announced that he is abruptly leaving his post and resigning from Congress in June for unknown reasons.
The public has seen a significant victory this week on the Trump Russia investigations with the appointment of a special prosecutor. Staffers on the House Oversight Committee are saying that this news, and last week’s multiple bombshell reports, are leading to an increased bipartisan support for an independent commission into all of this.
The only outcomes the House committees can lead to is impeachment, or to close the investigation with a “nothing to see here” outcome, and allow government to continue on its daily work. There are no other government branches or agencies that can impact or call for impeachment, or play any role in the impeachment process at all, as defined by the Constitution.
James Comey will leave the curtains after Memorial Day to testify to these committees. CIA Director Clapper is scheduled to testify to House Intelligence on May 23. He will begin in an open hearing, which will be immediately followed by a closed and classified briefing.
[Feature Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]