Summer descended in earnest this week in D.C., making shirts stick to the backs of sweaty lobbyists and causing hot-headed partisans to practically burst into flames. But at the besieged White House, the Russia probe has things as chilly as the ice palace in “Doctor Zhivago.” With good reason. The march of cold-hearted investigators is moving steadily closer to Team Trump, their icy eyes squinting for the truth.
At the sharpest focal point, former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. He will be asked if he felt pressured to drop the Russia probe before the president sacked him. The president denies interfering, but if Comey disagrees and calls it obstruction of justice, the Russia probe will instantly rise to a whole new intensity. And trust me, this town is already going nuts over the mere possibility.
Beyond that, the House Intelligence Committee has now issued the first subpoenas of the Russia affair, trying to compel dismissed national security adviser Michael Flynn to tell what he knows. They’re going after the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, too.
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And don’t forget the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the FBI probe. It is increasingly clear his scope is not just the Russians or the election. Rather, all indications are he could cast a broad net to consider any wrongdoing by any Trump associates at any time over the past decade.
Will any of this turn up shenanigans? I have no idea. All the president’s representatives have insisted from the get-go there is nothing to be discovered: no collusion with the Russians, no illicit deals, no tipping of the election. To hear them tell it, the entire kerfuffle is “fake news” at its worst.
But remember, when it comes to the Congressional probes, they are happening not because Democrats want them but because Republicans are allowing them. And for a Republican president to see his own party slow-walking forward such potentially damaging efforts – well, yeah, that ought to make his blood run cold.