Sacked FBI chief James Comey has effectively accused US president Donald Trump of obstruction of justice—an offence that could remove him from the presidency.
Comey used his testimony to the US congressional hearing into potential Russian involvement within Trump’s election campaign to allege that Trump had lied to him.
He also revealed that Trump had tried to pressure him to drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Russia “tried to shape the way we think, we vote, we act,” said Comey. “They’re coming after America.”
Senator Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the inquiry, agreed that “foreign operatives” were “seeking to hijack our democratic process”.
That gives a sense of the underlying debate framing the investigation.
Some elements of the US ruling class want a more hostile foreign policy strategy towards Russia.
The Democratic Party and the liberal wing of the US ruling class smell blood.
Trump’s response was to accuse Comey of lying under oath. He claimed he had made tapes of the conversations that would exonerate him.
The inquiry called his bluff and demanded he hand over the tapes. No tapes had been produced as Socialist Worker went to press.
Comey testified that Trump “hoped” the investigation would be dropped. Trump’s supporters have seized on this to argue that Trump did not demand Comey drop the investigation and so was not obstructing justice.
The Democrats claim to be leading the resistance to Trump. But they had nothing to say when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency rounded up 70 “illegal” immigrants in just one day last Friday.
When the FBI was investigating the content of Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails no punishment was too severe for Comey, according to senior Democrats.
Now they are holding up Comey as a liberal saviour. Warner described Comey as “willing to speak truth to power.” And the FBI is being sanitised. But its history is bloody and racist.
In 2001 Robert Mueller was the FBI director and Comey assistant attorney general. Now Mueller is in charge of the special investigation into Trump. After 9/11 he ordered some 1,000 people to be rounded up and detained.
A New York Times editorial fawned over Comey’s performance on Thursday. “The FBI’s mission, Mr. Comey declared, ‘is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States’,” it read.
“Let’s hope that the principles he articulated, and those who hold them, guide this investigation in the days ahead.”
Ordinary people can’t rely on the Democrats to deal with Trump.
Activists need to take to the streets and keep mobilising the working class to take on Trump.