The sizzling news just took a major u-turn. James Comey, the FBI chief, has instructed Jeff Sessions' justice department to issue what looks to be a pants-on-fire judgment on the sitting President of the United States. Anyone looking at such an event might be justified in concluding three things:

1. Steve Bannon is probably influencing President Trump as never before.

2. If anyone can be considered to be driving history during the eventful election-and-after period, it would have to be James Comey.

3. If Comey keeps his job, a questionable premise, given Trump volubility, we will be only a step away from a confrontation between Donald Trump and the law.

Whenever a president has been relieved of his office it is because the law stood in the shadows, a more powerful force than even a Donald Trump. The question of whether or not democracy survives is whether the current president understands and abides by that.

The facts

On Saturday President Trump tweeted that President Obama had tapped his phones. Comey saw no evidence of this and concluded that the President's charge was false. He also concluded that the President's allegation was a slur against the FBI, implying that Comey's agency had broken the law.

Another obvious problem emerged. Jeff Sessions has recused himself from anything to do with this matter. This may help explain the apparent meltdown of Donald Trump on receiving news of Sessions' recusal including the report that Trump explicitly referred to Sessions as someone who could support him.

Unpacking what is known

Trump's case against Obama is already vociferously defended by Breitbart News. Steve Bannon, having run Breitbart, is most likely the person who led Trump from the edge of apoplexy to the clarity of his plan. 1. Create a credible case for the charge that Obama ordered a tap on Trump Tower. 2. Whether true of false, make it read well.

And so it was done.

In an era when the country knows Trump's predilection for falsehood, where millions believe in the President, the only thing that can keep the present conflict from becoming another inconclusive round of charges and counter-charges is, apparently, James Comey. There must be times when he wishes he had never opened his mouth.