The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Comey Divide

I had an interesting conversation last night with a fellow critic of President Trump’s. He was irritated that I had insisted that those watching the Comey situation remain “skeptical but not hysterical.” Now, he said, is “the time to be hysterical.”

I’ve been trying to understand why he was so vexed, and I think I’ve worked it out: He has assumed — and built into his thinking — that there is a huge Russia scandal in the background of all this. And I haven’t. I certainly think it’s possible that this goes deeper, and I remain as mistrustful toward this administration as I ever was. But I’m not going to credit theories about Watergate-level conspiracies without evidence, and my friend is. That’s the line that divides us.

That being so, his approach makes sense. If, like my friend, you are convinced that Trump is guilty and that we are just waiting for the smoking gun, you will work backwards from that point and conclude that Trump is obviously getting in the way of the investigation, and that this is obviously Watergate. If you aren’t sure that there is a big scandal looming, you’re likely to be circumspect and happy to watch it play out as a process.

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