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“Smoking Gun” or “Shot in the Foot?”

Quick show of hands?  Who’s ready for a little boredom to come out of Washington DC?

trump comeyLess than 24 hours after the Washington Post reported on the possibility that President Donald Trump shared classified information with a Russian foreign minister, the New York Times demonstrated THEIR renewed commitment to journalism by reporting that Trump apparently asked FBI Director James Comey (in so many words) to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.  “I hope you can let this go,” the president told Comey, according to the memo.

Comey, who flips from “good guy” to “bad guy” in the eyes of partisan observers more frequently than a WWF wrestler, reportedly shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates.  The New York Times had not viewed a copy of the memo when they published their story yesterday, but “one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of it to a Times reporter.”

As someone who spent nearly three decades in the media, I can tell you I would have felt MUCH more comfortable releasing the story after I had personally seen the memo.  The fact that this story was published so quickly likely owes to the highly-competitive nature of today’s media, along with their zeal to conduct real journalism after an eight-year rest.

Predictably, those who are emotionally-invested in Trump have come out swinging.  My favorite tactic has been for them to argue that this *really* doesn’t constitute Obstruction of Justice.  That he *really* wasn’t asking Comey to drop the investigation.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Now…take off the orange-colored glasses, read that again…and be honest.  How should that be interpreted?

If it is deemed that Trump tried to interfere with an active FBI investigation then yes…that is an impeachable offense.  I don’t think it will ever come to that, though.  The Republican-led House would have to draw up the articles and the Republican-led Senate would have to impeach with a two-thirds majority.  But I think Trump would decide long before any of this happens that he doesn’t need this any more.  Under that scenario, he would pull a Nixon and resign.  Life at Trump Tower, Mar-A-Lago or any of his other homes; without having pesky reporters following him around all day, doesn’t sound like a bad option.

On the surface, this seems fairly simple. Either Comey’s memo exists, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, it will represent one of the shoddiest cases of journalism seen in recent years and will evaporate whatever sliver of credibility still possessed by the Times and other major news outlets.

If there IS a memo—it’s just that.  A written note and nothing more.  That would force the American people to decide if they trust Trump or Comey.  I don’t think either has given us much reason to believe them.

I don’t see a good outcome from any of this.

But the best thing is, no matter what happens, Neil Gorsuch will still be a Supreme Court Justice and Hillary Clinton will still NOT be President.


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