In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impeachment of Donald Trump, the Mueller investigation, and the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections seems almost like ancient history.
Yet it was only a few months ago when the coronavirus was barely being mentioned and was buried in the lower reaches of the international section of the daily newsfeeds that the topic of renewed Russian efforts to influence the 2020 presidential race was still top of mind for both politicians and the public alike.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that — given the urgency of all of the medical and financial fallout from the pandemic — that the story today about the unanimous, bipartisan confirmation by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee of the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia did indeed meddle in the 2016 election to benefit Donald Trump was itself buried at the bottom. of news feeds reporting on the COVID-19 virus and the efforts to mitigate it.
Former FBI Director James Comey, however, was not about to let his opportunity for the vindication of the investigation he initiated into the Russian interference and its ties to the Trump campaign go unnoticed.
As the much-maligned target of repeated attacks on his integrity by Donald Trump, Comey wanted to make sure that the fact that all of the accusations slung his way by the president and his band of complicit GOP cronies were negated by the majority- Republican members of the Intelligence Committee did not fall into the societal cracks left by the coronavirus.
First Mueller Report, then the IG, and now Senate Republicans. There really was a Russian attack in 2016 and those who investigated it were professionals. Facts remain stubborn things. https://t.co/eIlN25AYiY
— James Comey (@Comey) April 21, 2020
Facts do remain stubborn things, and the fact of the matter is that Donald Trump is playing as fast and loose with them in dealing with the current coronavirus crisis as he did with the Russia investigation.
It took three years for the president’s reality-distortion field to be definitively broken by the Senate Intelligence Committee report which The Washington Post described as “the first extensive bipartisan congressional affirmation of the intelligence agencies’ conclusion, which continues to be at odds with President Trump’s oft-stated doubts about Russia’s role in the 2016 race.”
“The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusions,” said Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) in a statement, likely one reason why senior GOP leadership is not helping him very much in fighting against the charges of insider trading in light of his stock sales after being briefed on the potential pandemic economic damage.
The Washington Post reported that:
“The committee said the CIA, National Security Agency and FBI — coordinated by the Director of National Intelligence — presented a ‘coherent and well-constructed’ case for their assessment, supported by intelligence from human and electronic sources.”
“Significantly, the committee said, ‘interviews with those who drafted and prepared the ICA affirmed that analysts were under no political pressure to reach specific conclusions.'”
For Mr. Comey, vindication is sweet.
We’ll have to wait until this afternoon’s daily press briefing to see which reporter will dare to bring up the Senate committee’s findings to the president today. Now that will be a tirade to watch.
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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.