FBI confirms investigation of Trump over Russia

Big news today. FBI Director James Comey revealed at a hearing on Capitol Hill today that the FBI is investigating Donald Trump and his associates for possible collusion with Russia.

It doesn’t get any bigger, or more clear, than that.

This October tweet from Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway has been making the rounds again this morning:

FBI INVESTIGATION STARTED LAST JULY, NO EVIDENCE OBAMA TAPPED TRUMP

Comey, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, also revealed that the investigation started last July, in the middle of the presidential campaign. Many have already noted that while Comey was happy to make public the fact that the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s email server, the FBI did not reveal until today that they were also investigating Trump and his team for possible treason.

A lot happened during the four-hour hearing. But that was certainly the most explosive reveal. We also learned that the FBI has NO EVIDENCE that President Obama “tapped” Donald Trump’s “wires,” as Trump has been repeatedly claiming. Nonetheless, the White House again today claimed that the allegation is true, and that FBI Director Comey’s denial is not the final word.

Republican members of the Intelligence Committee tried to redirect the focus of the hearing away from Trump’s possible treason, and instead towards “the leaks.” Specifically, the committee members, and Sean Spicer at the White House today, kept coming back to Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisers who was fired, allegedly for lying to VP Pence about his clandestine talks with te Russian ambassador. Since that time, we’ve learned that Flynn was working as a foreign agent for Turkey up until the transition, and that Flynn accepted around $50,000 from various Russian entities, including the Russian government via its propaganda arm. Why this White House, and the GOP House, would want to hang their hat on Michael Flynn is bewildering. Flynn’s stench grows by the day.

There was also a lot of suggestions by Republicans that the media committed crimes by reporting the details of those leaks. American case law suggests otherwise. But regardless, as MSNBC conservative host Joe Scarborough noted today, we just found out that the President of the United States is being investigated for possible treason, and the GOP Congress is more worried about HOW we found out?

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White House tries and fails to spin the hearing their way

Also odd, Sean Spicer was asked today about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, and any contacts Manafort might have had with Russian operatives. Spicer responded by claiming that Manafort had a minor role in the campaign, arguing that Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited time.” In fact, Manafort was the chair of the entire campaign. His role was huge. And he was forced out because of revelations about his financial ties to Ukrainian stooges of the Russians. It’s telling that the White House is now trying to minimize the involvement Manafort had with the campaign.

Trump, for his part, tried to spin the hearing as benefiting him — when it most certainly did not. Trump claimed, for example, that the FBI and NSA said today that “Russia did not influence the electoral process.” In fact, what they said at the hearing was they found no evidence that Russia had actually hacked any election machines and physically compromised any ballots. They did not say that Russia’s efforts did not influence the vote. And in fact, responding to the tweet during the hearing, Comey made clear that their investigation did not reach a conclusion on that point. It’s a point a lot of Republicans keep trying to claim, that Comey et. al. have exonerated Russia from actually influencing the result of the election. And that is simply not the case.

Trump’s latest tweetstorm suggests he’s worried

As an aside, it was interesting to see Trump’s tweetstorm this morning. Trump was in fine form, railing about his electoral votes, and denying that he had personally colluded with Russia. Even for Trump, the tweets seemed particularly unhinged today. In particular, Trump’s claim that he personally did not collude with Russia stood out. Why even go there? It was so brazen, so shocking a claim, that for Trump to acknowledge it had an “I’m not a crook” feel to it. If you gotta say it.

I suspect Trump got wind of the testimony Comey and NSA Director Rogers were going to give today, and that they were going to make it clear that Obama did not spy on Trump, in addition to confirming that the FBI was in fact investigating Trump. That double-whammy surely ticked Trump off.

Here were Trump’s morning tweets:

It’s also important to note that the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, did an amazing job, as always, laying out the case against Trump. You can read more about that here.

Trump’s incessant vacations are facing criticism

In other news, the fact that Trump is now taking a vacation every single weekend — he’s had ten vacation so far, while only in office eight weeks — is finally getting the attention of the media. Spicer was asked several times about Trump’s never-ending vacations, which usually take place at Trump’s private resort, Mar-a-Lago. Trump was a huge critic of President Obama’s occasional vacations. It’s been estimated that each trip to Mar-a-Lago costs US taxpayers between $2m and $3m dollars. Trump is racking up a vacation bill far larger than anything Barack Obama ever did. Spicer, when asked about this today, claimed that yes Trump is playing golf a lot — he’s gone 10 times since being president — but it’s the way he plays golf that makes it “work” and not “play.”

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Keep fighting, and be sure to add your name, demanding Trump apologize to President Obama, and our petition calling for a special counsel to launch an independent investigation of Trump and Russia.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Badgerite

    The “alternative person” Kellyanne Conway talking about “an honest person” is further proof, if needed, that “the universe is not curved, it’s totally bent”. (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
    Daily Kos has a post out now about an FBI wiretap of Trump Tower in 2013 based on all of the Russian mobsters renting in the building. Part of all the assets Trump Monster Jr. talked about flooding in from Russia?

  • brel1

    Perhaps there is a long range plan to ensnare all the treasonous culprits and take down Russia which might explain why nothing was done months ago. We can only hope.

  • Irv T

    That profile is becoming as familiar as Alfred Hitchcock. They need to come up with some theme song to go with it.

  • Demosthenes

    “Lock him up”!

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