- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It’s all Comey, all the time. Be prepared. Every broadcast and cable network, every anchor and every analyst is now focused on former FBI director James B. Comey and his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.Though a copy of Mr. Comey’s opening remarks has already been released to the press, many networks are already bandying about “impeachment” talk. They’ve also pre-empted regular daytime programming in hopes there will be explosive revelations about possible collusion between President Trump’s election campaign and Russian officials. Uh-oh. This is getting serious, now. Game shows and daytime talk fests will be stalled. Even the afternoon soaps could suffer as a melodramatic and mostly biased press frenzy grips the airwaves.

“Obstruction of justice is impeachable, but getting there is political. On the question of whether President Trump obstructed justice, I think it’s highly unlikely that Comey will conclude that the president obstructed justice. I think he will avoid that legal conclusion, although his testimony might give fuel to those who will so claim,” says Dale Carpenter, a law professor at Southern Methodist University.

Anticipation of the event is “approaching levels of past bombshell moments of congressional testimony — John Dean in 1973, Oliver North in 1987, Anita Hill in 1991,” writes Variety senior editor Ted Johnson, who says such testimony can sway public opinion, as it did for Mr. North during the Iran-Contra hearings when some viewers saw him as a patriot.

Will America pay attention when the six-foot-eight-inch Mr. Comey speaks? Will Mr. Trump live tweet the hearings as rumored — will something significant emerge if the testimony goes behind closed doors? It is so confusing, some news organizations have issued “how to watch” guides for viewers. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University saw fit to issue a 32-page “Trump-Russia Investigations: A Guide.” And, oh yes, a spate of bars in the nation’s capital are opening early.

SURPRISE SUPPORT FOR TRUMP TRAVEL BAN

“Half of voters still favor President Trump’s temporary travel ban and see it as an anti-terrorist measure, not religious discrimination. Voters also think the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to uphold the ban,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey, which finds that 50 percent of likely voters give the nod to the ban, while 41 percent oppose it.

Partisan differences are immediate: 77 percent of Republicans agree with the ban, 64 percent of Democrats oppose the idea.

Still, 52 percent overall say Mr. Trump’s order is an anti-terrorism measure; 74 percent of Republicans agree. Meanwhile, 39 percent overall believe the order is aimed at Muslims; 58 percent of Democrats agree.

The ban could make progress, however. The survey also found that half of all voters think the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the president’s travel limits, now snarled in some lower courts.

A WALL THAT PAYS FOR ITSELF

President Trump created a ripple of titillation this week during his visit with Republican lawmakers when he mentioned the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico could incorporate solar panels, generate power and make some money.

A very Trump-ian idea — which came from Gleason Partners, one of the 600 building firms which expressed interest in bidding on the actual construction of the wall. The solar-paneled wall, the California company said, could produce 2.0 megawatts of electricity an hour, and “pay for itself.”

Mr. Trump previously alluded to another proposal which added features like public viewing decks to the wall which would appeal to eager tourists, again providing a potential funding source. Indeed, the border barrier has brought out some old-fashioned American ingenuity.

One company says a “smart wall” embedded with fiber optic cables could detect tunneling or climbing activities. Two proposals presented walls based on historic designs, one modeled after the Great Wall of China, the other from classic Medieval design.

Another contractor proposed a 30-foot steel mesh barrier with the Great Seal of the United States on each panel. One bidder proposes a polished concrete barrier that incorporates artful arrangements of stones and other pleasing materials. A smooth-surfaced, sloping “security curtain” is another prospect, along with a striking zigzag design.

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce the finalists in the bidding competition sometime this month.

NOT WALLED IN

Regardless of squawking from Trump critics, the border barrier itself appears to be a go.

“We are absolutely dead serious about the wall,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney recently advised a group of White House reporters.

President Trump’s request that Congress include $1.4 billion to fund the beginning of his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border equals approximately 0.035 percent of what the federal government will spend in total this year, according to the latest estimate of fiscal year 2017 federal spending made by the Congressional Budget Office,” Terence P. Jeffrey wrote recently after reviewing the White House budget proposal.

“It also equals less than the Department of Health and Human Services spends in just twelve hours and less than the Treasury collects in taxes in four hours,” adds Mr. Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSNews.com.

POLL DU JOUR

77 percent of Americans say being fit and “looking good” is very important to them.

73 percent say they have wanted to “change something” about their body.

60 percent sometimes compare themselves to others; 28 percent “never” do.

55 percent say they exercise; 37 percent of that group go outside, 18 percent are at home, 17 percent in a gym.

42 percent perceive themselves as “too fat.” 37 percent say they are in good shape.

40 percent use their smartphone to help in training.

Source: A ReportLinker.com poll of 503 U.S. adults conducted May 16 and released Wednesday.

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