Shakespeare Would Know What To Say

In this year of our discontent

The slow build!

Sally Yates did not say anything that we didn’t already know, when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. James Clapper barely divulged any additional information of his own in that open hearing. What their testimony exposed in their classified meetings, to this point, remains classified. Yet we got to hear Yates identify Flynn’s legal situation as untenable, that he was vulnerable to Russian blackmailing, and that he had lied to the vice president and the rest of Trump’s staff about his meetings and behaviors with the Russians. They both said, with resolute confidence, that Russians had attacked our election process.

Comey didn’t tell us a whole lot of new stuff, when he appeared before the Senate Select Committee, though he did tend to release more personal experience than Yates or Clapper had in their hearing. His big news was: Trump is the type of person who is capable of lying about meetings to suit his agenda, and for that reason, Comey made precise and contemporaneous notes of his nine conversations with Mr. Trump, just in case Mr. Trump were compelled to lie. In fact, Comey called Mr. Trump and his staff (specifically, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, insinuated by her quote, but not by calling her name) liars for their inaccurate commentary on the FBI rank and file’s morale and on the mistaken characterization of the FBI, under Comey’s leadership, as being in disarray. Lies. Slow build.

Comey and Mike Rogers, in their House Intelligence Committee (HIC) interview did not expose any scandalous news. They both hammered the point that there was no doubt in their minds that the Russians attempted to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election. When specific names and meetings were mentioned, both intelligence officers refused to comment, because the investigations were in their very earliest stages, at the time. They did agree that Flynn’s commentary to the media was not true and they would be investigating all meetings between Russian players and the Trump team. No Democrats appeared to be involved in potential collusion with Russian operatives. What did Rogers and Comey have to say in the classified meeting with the HIC? We don’t, yet, know. Slow build.

Soon, Jared Kushner will start to appear before these committees, again, in open session, so we shouldn’t expect to learn too much, early on. His testimony will be layered with fifth amendment invocations and refusals to answer, because information is “classified” and/or “privileged.” What we will be able to learn from his testimony is that Flynn lied. We will know this, because he was photographed, on a variety of occasions, entering meeting rooms and seated in meeting rooms, practically in conjoined headbutts with Kislyak and Flynn, sharing confidential, back-channel information. Slow build. Lies.

How many times did Flynn violate the Logan Act? Was the violation a petition by Kislyak or was it an offering by Flynn? Why didn’t Kushner talk about these meetings back in January and February? Why did he withhold information from congressional committees investigating this debacle? Slow build and Fifth amendment protection. Kushner’s testimony won’t solve issues. His early testimony will yield directions in which to pursue more testimony, but no decisions will be handed down, Flynn will still be guiltily flapping in the wind, but for what, no one will say in open session.

Mr. Trump will grow furiouser and furiouser, with circumstances and investigators. Nunes will pop in and out like a bug-eyed, skinny Falstaff in a Shakespeare dramedy. We should gird ourseves for months of tweeting by Donald and Donald, Jr. and Eric and, most certainly, Ivanka, during the probes into the first son-in-law’s role in this Trump/Russia epic tale.

Slow build, like Chekhov. More Putin than any of us can stomach. Russian oligarchs volunteering to testify in defense of the indefensible Trumparchs. We have barely begun. Comey will likely be a forgotten walk-on, as winter approaches, in this year of our discontent, as we begin to hear a hammer fall, here and there, that nails someone’s cell shut for a year or two. Are the Watergate criminals still in jail? Who among us can even answer that? For perspective, I wonder where they are.

Slow build, mostly boredom, some unbridled extrapolation and speculation, on top of invective and deflection and raucous, random, randy accusations. Let’s not forget the prostitutes. That’s all Trump could summon in his talks with Comey. There were no prostitutes. I want everyone to know, there were no prostitutes! Shakespeare should be here for this. He would know exactly what to say and how to say it.