I’ve watched a lot of Congressional hearings in my life, and most are about as exciting as a dusty painting of the Founding Fathers contemplating a parchment. But I must doff my powdered wig to the Senate Intelligence Committee – because the testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey was riveting.
Let’s go to the highlight reel! Comey thrilled Democratic stone-throwers by repeatedly calling the president of the United States a liar, and giving lurid details of a private meeting with the president in which “loyalty” kept coming up like the password to a creepy nightclub. Comey delighted conservative media outlets, however, by confirming the prez was not under investigation over the Russian election hack. He took swipes at Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former AG Loretta Lynch. He served up a surprise about how news of his notes got out – i.e. he leaked them! He let loose with an excellent colloquialism: “Lordy!” And he compared giving information to journalists to “feeding seagulls at the beach.”
It was fantastic. Good enough, I imagine, to satisfy dozens here in DC who – I swear – went to bars for “watch parties.” And probably good enough to please many more observing the proceedings across the country. And why not? There was something in it for everyone.
For those who want to see this president ripped from the Oval Office, impeached, and shipped back to New York, there was enough confirmation of questionable behavior to keep their hopes alive. For those who want to see him exonerated: Even though much of the testimony made President Trump look bad, none of it seemed to have him in serious political or legal jeopardy at least for now.
So what comes next? The Russian probe will go on and some of the president’s associates will continue to be scrutinized – perhaps some will be implicated in some sort of shenanigans. But the furor around the president himself in this matter may be a little muted now. Because as much as the Republican president’s opponents hoped Comey’s testimony would lay out a clear case for obstruction of justice, as California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, “Look, we’re not there yet.”