- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Mark this down as the week Donald Trump won re-election.

The television split screen Wednesday captured it perfectly.

On one side, U.S. senators — the same ones who have failed to fulfill key parts of the agenda that got Mr. Trump elected — were squabbling, interrupting, misleading and orating about Russian mirages around every corner. All of Washington screeched to a halt for this big breathless intelligence committee hearing.

On the other side of the screen was Mr. Trump himself, standing on a tarmac in Ohio and talking to victims of Obamacare.

One more giant health care insurer had dropped out of the state’s Obamacare markets, leaving 18 counties with no government health insurance. The stories of raised rates and jacked premiums Mr. Trump told were horrific.

Gee, I wonder why America hates Washington and Congress and the media so much. And I wonder how Mr. Trump ever got elected with all his sordid ties to the Russians.

Well, I will tell you why. Because nobody gives a flying frog about this whole stupid Russia story, for which there has not been a scintilla of evidence linking Mr. Trump to any of it.

Yet, more breathless coverage Thursday morning on sacked FBI Director Jim Comey’s sensational testimony tried to make the Watergate hearings look like middle school mock debate.

There was nothing new, of course, out of the Comey hearing because Mr. Comey himself had already leaked all of it to the press. At the same time as he condemned government officials over leaking to the press, Mr. Comey shamelessly described how he, too, had leaked all of his private exchanges with Mr. Trump to the press.

Since when, by the way, does an underling get to determine whether private Oval Office conversations with the president are subject to executive privilege?

Not only that, Mr. Comey specifically leaked all of this confidential information to The New York Times — a publication that he also singled out for the paper’s alarming tendency to publish fake news. Making matters even worse, Mr. Comey described how pernicious the fake news published by The New York Times is, because the people who know the truth can’t refute the fake news.

Mr. Comey leaked everything, as Mr. Trump’s attorney noted, except one important detail: Mr. Trump is not — and never was — the target of any investigation involving Russia or anything else.

That was the one thing Mr. Trump wanted known so that he could get on with making good on his campaign promises. Despite all the caterwauling by Democrats and leaks from the intelligence community and fake news in The New York Times, nobody in a position of authority ever thought Mr. Trump had improper ties to Russia.

That’s not to say Russia did not attempt — as all global players do — to influence the election. Mr. Trump just never had a thing to do with it.

The only revelation of election rigging came from — that’s right — former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, famous for meeting secretly with Bill Clinton on the tarmac while Mr. Clinton’s wife was under investigation for her rampant disregard for national security.

Not an “investigation,” Ms. Lynch instructed Mr. Comey. It is just a “matter.”

Gee, I wonder what is the source for that hot tip for lying your way out of a jam like that? Guess it depends on what the definition of “is” is.

Perhaps the worst part of all of this is the reason Mr. Comey gave for leaking confidential, perhaps privileged, information: He wanted a special prosecutor appointed.

In other words: pure retaliation.

This, despite Mr. Comey testifying that he understood that the president had the right to fire him at any time for any reason — or for no reason whatsoever. Also, he testified that he did not know the reason he was fired.

Still, Mr. Comey did not like the unknown reason that the president didn’t even need to have. So he retaliated.

The swamp strikes back.

So, let’s recap Thursday’s testimony.

The only verified leaker exposed: Jim Comey.

The only person we know is not and never was under investigation for ties to Russia: Donald Trump.

The only person exposed for trying to influence an election: Loretta Lynch.

The only paper accused of publishing fake news: The New York Times.

The only person who attempted to obstruct justice: Loretta Lynch, and probably Bill Clinton.

It’s gonna be a fun seven more years.

Charles Hurt can be reached at churt@washingtontimes.com and on Twitter via @charleshurt.

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