James Comey sat before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington Thursday, answering questions from senators on his interactions with U.S. President Donald Trump, and the ongoing Russia investigation.
The testimony, which had been the subject of speculation for weeks, lasted nearly three hours. But what happens now that it’s over?
David Schneiderman, a law professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in the U.S. constitution, says there’s a lot more to do.
What happens now that the testimony is over?
The committees will continue investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Schneiderman said.
Schneiderman predicts that the saga will last at least until the 2018 mid-term election because it’s something Democrats want to “keep going.”
The real “mystery,” he adds, is why Trump was so invested in former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s fate. But that’s just one unanswered question.
“There are many more revelations to come because there’s so much unexplained.”
Should Donald Trump be worried?
“Of course,” says Schneiderman.
“The testimony indicates the president was interfering with an ongoing investigation,” he said, adding that could potentially lead to an obstruction of justice charge.
But impeachment, he says, is unlikely because Congress is run by Republicans who are unlikely to turn on their own leader.
The probe will hurt his credibility and image, although Schneiderman notes that the president doesn’t seem too worried about that.
“He’s already kind of made his own bed. He doesn’t seem too concerned how established voices really think about him.”
There are other implications as well, a political science expert at the University of Toronto told Global National.
“The fact that the investigation is continuing, that there is counsel, that Comey successfully portrayed the president as lying — about him personally and about the FBI — those are damaging to the president and the presidency, frankly,” Aurel Braun said.
Braun adds Trump’s ability to pursue policy amid this “significant” distraction would be hurt.
What should the president do?
“The wisest course of action is just be quiet. The less he does is probably in his best interest,” Schneiderman says.
His main advice to Trump: “He should stop tweeting.”
Trump’s Twitter was notably inactive during the testimony. Schneiderman says that’s likely due to advice from his lawyers, who issued a statement following the testimony. It’s unclear if and when the president will react publicly.
What does this mean for Russia?
“I think the reaction in the Kremlin was, ‘Oh my God, this is really, really bad,” Braun said.
The fact that they are under “constant scrutiny,” and they’re accused of “nefarious” actions such as meddling with the U.S. elections is drawing ire from around the world, he explains.
Braun adds that European countries on the verge of elections are now cautious of Russia.