Asha Rangappa, a former FBI counterintelligence agent and currently an associate dean at Yale Law School, wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post today that explains what Americans should be most concerned about with regard to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Granted, Comey’s testimony gave us plenty to be alarmed about, most notably Trump’s attempts to obstruct justice in the probe of his administration’s ties to Russia. Those are not, however, Rangappa’s primary concerns.
“…as a former FBI counterintelligence agent, what I saw as the most explosive aspect of the testimony didn’t involve any legal violation of the U.S. code or questions about whether Comey had broken established Department of Justice protocols. Instead, it was the prima facie evidence that Comey presented that Trump appears unwilling to uphold his oath “to preserve, protect, and defend” the country — which puts the security of our nation and its democracy at stake. In the nine times Trump met with or called Comey, it was always to discuss how the investigation into Russia’s election interference was affecting him personally, rather than the security of the country. He apparently cared little about understanding either the magnitude of the Russian intelligence threat, or how the FBI might be able to prevent another attack in future elections.”
What Rangappa is saying is that Trump is guilty of not just dereliction of duty, but of actively ignoring one of the biggest threats from foreign aggression that has ever faced our democracy. Comey’s testimony put to rest any doubts about the intelligence community’s findings that Russia “brazenly interfered” in our election, as former CIA head John Brennan described it.
“It does not require an FBI investigation to see that a president of the United States who finds no reason for concern in any of these assertions — and indeed considers them a “hoax” — cannot have the best interest of the country at heart…
Although its activities didn’t involve bombs or dead bodies, Russia’s efforts were no less dangerous than any terrorist attack. In fact, the insidiousness of Russia’s interference lies in its invisibility: The American public did not even know that their freedom of choice was potentially being manipulated and distorted for foreign interests.”
The former counterintelligence agent goes on to make one of the most apt analogies ever made about the situation:
“Imagine that during the 2016 presidential election, a candidate publicly invited the Islamic State to bomb the Democratic Party headquarters. And then imagine that such a bombing in fact took place, resulting in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Now further imagine that the new president not only had no interest in learning more about who caused the attack or bringing them to justice, but in fact went out of his way to make nice with the Islamic State and offer them political and diplomatic concessions. Finally, imagine that there may be evidence that members of the president’s campaign or other American citizens were actively or passively involved in facilitating such an attack.”
Looking at Trump’s behavior in this context shows that not only is he unqualified to lead the nation, but that his continued occupancy of the office of the President will be disastrous to both our democracy and to the people who comprise it.
If Trump can’t, or willfully won’t, fulfill his oath of office to defend our country, he must be impeached as soon as possible. The Comey testimony is a good first step, but now it’s up to the majority party to see past their partisan noses and begin to put country over party and personal intersts for the good of the nation.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.