Today, The House Of Representatives held a rare public hearing featuring FBI Director James Comey and NSA head Mike Rogers. Most of the day saw the intelligence chiefs declining to answer any questions, particularly if they dealt with Americans who might be involved in the investigation that Director Comey did indeed acknowledge was happening, and has been happening since last July. Also, as some commentators have noted, much of the day was as if there were two hearings going on. One with Democrats inquiring about Russian interference in the 2016 election. The other had Republicans asking about if they are going to catch the person who leaked the information that led to the firing of General Michael Flynn just 24 days into the Trump administration’s tenure.
But throughout the day, tidbits of information were dispensed. Besides it being “ballgame over” when it comes to the questions of did the Russians interfere with our election and the FBI is investigating it — the answer to both questions is yes. It also became apparent, through the questions asked by those “in the know” on the intelligence committee that there are many potential targets within the Trump campaign and administration who possibly colluded or even cooperated with Russian government entities.
Of course, watching four hours of hearings to get that information isn’t a plausible or preferable option to many. Fortunately, Washington State Congressman Denny Heck did a great job summing up why this inquiry matters and what we learned today. (See video below …)
Heck began by noting that the day’s events had brought out a full range of emotions in the room as information was revealed. The one emotion that dominated, according to the Congressman, was sadness. He went on to comment that the sadness was due to everyone learning that indeed the Russians did interfere and this was, in all probability, “an inside job” to disrupt and destroy our democracy. He pointed to the evidence showing that some Americans might have nefariously or naively participated in this invasion. We also learned that definitively the Russians were trying to help the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign.
Heck then rhetorically asked how the Trump administration could not seem to take these actions seriously? He highlighted how the campaign moved to change the GOP platform at the convention concerning Russia — change it to a softer position. He remarked about how Trump was eager to insult our allies like Australia, Great Britain, and Germany yet never had a bad word to say about Putin and the Russians. He also commented about how the administration has baselessly accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his office and residence at Trump Tower. He has likened intelligence officials to nazis in referring to them. But again, nothing bad about Vladamir Putin.
He recapped exactly what we learned about;
“Hacking and dumping information to damage or embarrass their enemies. We heard about this, of course, with respect to Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0. Using third parties and cutouts — business people and oligarchs and other ostensively private individuals to cultivate relationships. We’ve discussed Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, and of course, Vladamir Putin himself. We’ve also heard about Russia’s use of companies like Gazprom, The Bank of Cyprus, Rosneft and a confusing web of off-shore shell companies used, it would seem — to hide, or to launder money.
We’ve also heard how Russia released disinformation to spread rumors and confuse the public — and sow distrust in the ability to even know truth objectively. Using propaganda media outlets, whether directly owned by Russia or not to release such disinformation in order to claim “plausible deniability” of Russia’s hands. here again, we see Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0, but we also see the use of propaganda outlets like RT.”
He then turned the focus to some of the U.S. “persons of influence” that might be caught up in the investigation — whether naively or with full knowledge of what they were doing. He named names:
Some who were fired;
- Roger Stone
- Carter Page
- Paul Manafort
- Michael Flynn
But, perhaps more importantly were the names of those still in the administration;
- Jeff Sessions
- Rex Tillerson
- Michael Caputo
- Members of the Trump family
Heck closed his statement by emphasizing that this was an attack on the United States, one that could still be ongoing. “This matters, this is important.” He insisted.
He then asked both Rogers and Comey “why should Americans care about the Russians interfering and influencing our election?”
In a nutshell, both were adamant that this was a threat to our democracy, and if we don’t do something about it now, we will be revisiting this again and again — until we take it on and win. Comey added that this threatens what we know as “America.” He finished by saying that he came here “involuntarily” and now that he had “done his duty” he was going to back, shut his mouth and get the job done and find the answers to these important questions.
To see Heck’s full statement and the intelligence directors full answers to his questions, check out the video clip below;
Featured image via youtube.com