Donald Trump’s normal tactic is to deny any statement that goes against his self aggrandizing rhetoric and to call any unwelcome news “fake”. In at least two instances this tactic was blown out of the water on Monday. As the nation awaits the results of the investigations it also wonders how the Oval Office will address yesterday’s revelations.

Committee

On Monday FBI Director James Comey faced the #Intelligence House Committee in a public sitting to answer questions, particularly on the investigations of Russian hacking of the presidential election and President Donald Trump’s accusation via late night tweets that the Obama Administration had ordered “wiretapping” of Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

In a surprise move the FBI Director made an unprecedented statement that confirmed the investigations of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. This statement was further reinforced by the subsequent statement that there is no proof of the accusations against the Obama Administration which caused a diplomatic incident with Great Britain last week.

One part of Comey’s statement cannot be stressed enough, he specified that he had been authorized by the Department of Justice to make the revelations and that they apply not only to the FBI but to all the structures of the Department. All this was stated while under oath.

Effects

Effectively the Director of the FBI had declared publicly that the accusations made by the President were wrong and that no proof exists to back them up.

This despite the fact the Oval Office had made repeated assurances that such proof would be found.

Worse still for Donald Trump, the confirmation that there are investigations into the Trump team and contacts with Russian agents during the campaign and thus implicitly after when considering the subsequent resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Director also blew a big hole in any attempt to label such investigations as “fake news”

Although Comey was careful not to name or exclude any person subject to the investigations the Department of Justice’s authorization of the statement only reinforced his declaration.

This potentially means that any member of the team could be under investigation at the present time.

Shadow

The investigations in themselves do not mean that formal criminal charges will automatically follow. In addition, the investigations could take considerable time to reach any conclusions but this has the profound and unsettling effect of keeping the Oval Office under a shadow for whatever time it takes for the intelligence community to complete its activities.

There will be those who believe the President’s pronouncements unconditionally and some have been quoted by the Press, yet the record low polls for a newly installed Administration will mean that the distrust towards the Trump White House will show not flag until definitive proof is provided that will either confirm or deny the consequences of any contacts between the Trump campaign team and the Russians during the campaign.

Allies

Reports that the British and at least one other European country had warned the previous Administration of Russian interference demonstrate that the investigations are not simply an American invention and that these allies were worried of the activities of an ever more aggressive Russia on the world stage.

The confirmation of the investigations will make Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job even more delicate as he deals with many American allies who view Russian President Vladimir Putin with more than simple suspicion.

In any case, “fake news” as a defence disappeared yesterday as a credible tool to deny rumours. Director Comey’s statement confirmed that the negative news was real and not invented and the White House should act accordingly, even if yesterday’s presidential tweets show that the message has not yet struck home.

Now the country and the world can only wait for the results to understand what the investigations truly mean.

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