By Geoffrey Smith
March 21, 2017

Good morning,

Welcome to the first day of spring. The end in is sight for the month that, according to Garrison Keillor, “God made so that people who don’t drink could know what a hangover feels like.”

It probably won’t feel much like springtime in the White House, however, after a day when FBI director James Comey confirmed for the first time that it is investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence services last year. The confirmation is all the more notable for the fact that the FBI rarely confirms the existence of ongoing investigations, except where there is an overriding public interest.

Comey also said there was “no information” to support President Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor eavesdropped on him. He then added insult to injury by refuting a tweet sent during the hearing in which Trump claimed that “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.” (The clip Trump attached to the tweet was a specific denial of vote-tampering in key swing states that he won in November, rather than a broad denial of Russian influence on the campaign.)

So the investigation is real, not fake, and because it is counter-intelligence work, it will take a long time to be concluded. It may yet all end in nothing, the presumption of innocence must be maintained, and the burden of proof for those looking to discredit the President is substantial. But it will, at best, be a long-running and hugely unwelcome distraction from the tasks of rolling back regulation, replacing the Affordable Care Act, and rejuvenating the country’s infrastructure.

 

News below.

Geoffrey Smith
@geoffreytsmith
geoffrey.smith@fortune.com

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

You May Like