It must have been music to President Trump’s ears to hear FBI Director Christopher Wray publicly state “I can say very confidently that I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation.”
Wray was referring to Robert Mueller’s investigation into any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
“I have enormous respect for former Director Mueller, who I got to work with almost daily in the early 2000s, as a consummate professional,” Wray added. “He’s really running that investigation.”
The good news is that Trump, despite all his bluster about possibly firing Mueller, which would be the equivalent of political seppuku, is keeping his tiny hands out of Mueller’s pie. This is a good thing for Trump and for the nation.
What it isn’t, is some kind of statement exonerating Trump in the Russia investigation. That’s the statement the president asked James Comey to make, three times, and ultimately was the reason Trump fired Comey. Wray did not say what Comey refused to say.
The pro-Trump press will, however, take it that way. “FBI director drops truth grenade on supposed WH ‘interference’ with Russia probe.” Nobody has supposed that Trump or the White House has interfered with the Russia probe. All communications between Trump and Mueller or his staff have been above-board and friendly.
What Wray was convinced of, however, is more troubling to members of Trump’s campaign team who may yet face the music. From POLITICO:
“Now, I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot more fully, highly classified information….I have no reason to doubt the conclusions that the hardworking people who put that together came to,” the FBI director said, referring to an intelligence community assessment produced in both classified and unclassified versions in January.
The Russians did, according to all evidence, attempt to monkey with the 2016 election. And it’s clear that people in Trump’s orbit (Manafort, Trump Jr., Kushner) had connections with, or were open to meetings with, Russians interested in affecting the election.
As Agent Sandusky told Ben Gates in “National Treasure,” “someone’s got to go to prison.” If there was collusion or illegal activity, there will be a trial, either in state or Federal court. State court is beyond the reach of Trump’s pardon power. Should Trump start throwing out pardons like prophylactics, Wray’s statements may serve more to implicate the president than to exonerate him.