Comey naughty!

By Balakumar K Published on Jun 12, 2017 10:42 AM IST

As a die-hard fan of Indian cricket team, my view on the India-Sri Lanka match in the ongoing Champions Trophy is that James Comey was pretty convincing in his performance.

The thing is, as a typical Indian cricket follower, I switched channels the moment it became clear India was losing, and that is how I got myself following the questioning of former FBI director by a US congressional panel, which I should say was damn entertaining too. For those who are not tuned into American reality shows, James Comey was recently axed from his job after falling out with the world’s number one standup comedian Donald Trump.

Comey, as the FBI chief, had opened up investigations into Russians possibly having had tampered the US election process. Comey, an old-school type relentless investigator, was tipped off by the fact Trump had named his daughter Ivanka, which you have to admit sounds very Russian.

Jokes apart, the popular theory was that Russian hackers, in a bid to undermine Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign, had sent all those ‘Nigerian prince emails’ in her name. Not really, it was suspected that Hillary’s emails were leaked by Russian hackers under orders from Putin sitting on a swanky swivel chair in a dark room while patting a menacing dark cat meowing on his lap as stern-looking men with strange tattoos on their arms the size of redwood oak stand around with vague disinterest. Or at least that is how Putin is imagined to operate in the popular imagination of Americans.

Anyway, Trump, after he became the President, wanted the probe to be stopped. When Comey couldn’t guarantee his ‘loyalty’ to Trump, the American income tax department conducted several raids at Comey’s properties and recovered, in the words of The Washington Post , ‘several incriminating documents’ and he was also immediately transferred as the Special Principal Secretary (Security), Guantanamo Bay Prison. Nah, that would be India, whereas in America the President himself straightaway sacked the FBI Director on grounds of, well, we still don’t know that part. Perhaps it will be revealed in the climax.

But since Comey had alleged that the President himself didn’t want the investigations on the Russians to proceed, a Congressional panel called him to give a testimony under oath, which was telecast live on all networks and internet platforms because these days nobody so much as lifts their faces from their digital screens.

Comey, in his testimony, was firm and impressive, and it now remains to be seen whether it can open the doors for the impeachment of President, which process is long and cumbersome without a clear Constitutional guarantee for any live telecast. If Trump is impeached, and thrown out, it will be a historical moment for the Americans as it will give them an opportunity to know who their Vice President is.

But the American system is not exactly new to impeachment. There have been two instances before, and the names of the two Presidents, if my long memory of American political history serves me right, are available on Wikipedia. Okay, the two Presidents are: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

Johnson was impeached in 1868 for coming to office in a rental tuxedo. Ha. Ha. Ha. It happened so long ago that the real reasons no longer matter. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was impeached for ‘committing perjury’, which may sound something very kinky that one would commit with Monica Lewinsky. But perjury is just lying under oath, which is not a crime if you are a politico in India.

But both the impeachment failed as there weren’t requisite votes against them. Another one who came quite close to being impeached was Richard Nixon, he of the Watergate Scandal fame, which of course was uncovered by the two intrepid journalists Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Okay, that was in the screen version. But you know it.

The question now is whether Trump’s case will lead to impeachment or not. But whether it ends in one or not, it is interesting that things can go that far in the American system. As a contrast, in India, if you want to impeach the President, you have to first get the permission of the President. You may think I am exaggerating. Not much, I’d say. For, the grounds for impeaching the Indian president is ‘violation of the Constitution’, which the Constitution has not defined at all. In other words, the President has to commit a crime which is still not mentioned in the statute.

So, if you are looking for continued thigh-slapping entertainment, American politics should be your best bet. And if it gets to the impeachment stage, I, for one, would be glued to the television set watching it with interest, unless of course the Indian cricket team is beating the heck out of whoever it is playing on that day.

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