The House intelligence panel’s hearing on Trump, Russia deserves serious reflection.
How telling it is that the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency have confirmed — only two months after Inauguration Day — that President Donald Trump can’t be trusted.
And how telling it is that such news hardly comes as a surprise.
But what happened this week before the House intelligence committee deserves serious reflection, and not least among those who remain supportive of the beleaguered president — no matter what he does.
We’ve long called for clear answers on whether Trump and members of his campaign were colluding with Russia during the election to cripple Hillary Clinton’s Election Day chances. Now there is no doubt that an investigation remains active, and that the nation’s top intelligence officials view the probe as important enough to stand by it. Even after Trump’s vicious attacks on investigators, and even after his many attempts to distract and dispute, that’s the official testimony.
Let that sink in: Top members of the campaign for a sitting president remain under investigation by federal investigators for accusations they worked with a foreign superpower, and longtime enemy, to cripple the president’s opponent — who won the popular vote.
So much for Trump’s assertion that “Russia is fake news.”
And what of Trump’s tinfoil-hat Twitter accusations that it’s all just an Obama ruse? That the former president illegally ordered up wiretaps on Trump? And even enlisted Britain’s super-sleuths to help?
In clear terms, FBI Director James Comey debunked Trump’s claims about Obama seeking to “tapp” him.
“I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” the director said in congressional testimony. “The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”
As for Trump’s 007 theory, NSA Director Michael Rogers dispensed with that one as well.
“I’ve seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity, nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity,” Rogers said.
What a potentially dangerous time this is for our nation. As even members of Trump’s own party noted Monday, the congressional testimony leaves Americans and the world with serious, unresolved questions about the president of the United States’ tactics and ability to lead.
As Republican Rep. David Nunes put it, “a gray cloud” now hangs ominously over the White House.
Yes, for those who continue to look the other way, blather about “deep state” subterfuge might cut it.
But any president needs credibility in order to gain collations to advance his agenda. Sadly, Trump remains too stuck in a redundant loop of dodging his own outrageous claims to find ways of gaining the confidence of skeptics. A smart move might be to apologize to Obama for his false wiretapping claims, assure the nation the investigation will exonerate him, and move on. We would applaud the day. While we wait, we urge Republicans to demand better of their standard-bearer. Trump came into office with an ambitious agenda rife with opportunity for the party. Some of the reforms he seeks are arguably good for the nation. Another four years of gridlock would be a sad waste indeed.