As charges and leaks fly back and forth, as partisans maneuver in Congress and out, we see only one way out of this crisis: The truth. FBI Director Comey needs to say what happened and produce the relevant FISA warrants and requests, if there were any. Others from both the Trump campaign and the Obama administration need to step forth and speak on the record. The normal caution about impeding existing investigations or even many concerns about sources and methods need to yield to the requirements of civic health. Sunshine is not only the best disinfectant, it is in this case the only possible disinfectant. The relevant committees of Congress, already mired in partisanship and with many members who have their own axes to grind, should hold only public hearings on these matters. And if those investigations don’t yield results, and soon, a select committee will be necessary. We are under no illusions about the ability of such a panel to determine and proclaim some final and incontrovertible truth. But the likelihood of getting close is greater as the distance from day-to-day politics increases. Such an independent investigation would need as its two chief investigators two Americans of distinction, retired judges or Attorneys General or other knowledgeable former senior officials, a Republican and a Democrat, who were assured of the full power to investigate, and provided the authority and resources to do so quickly.

This way of proceeding sets aside normal cautions and concerns about how to deal with such sensitive matters. But this is not a normal moment and a potential crisis of this magnitude requires radical transparency as part of the solution.