"You're fired, Comey! But I'm getting my bodyguard to do it for me by letter!"
The Trump firing letter read in part:
"While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau."
The reason, if you can believe it? The dummies in the White House (including executive Dummy, Trump) claimed it was Comey's handling of Hillary Clinton's emails that caused them to "lose faith" in him, This was abetted by the DOJ letter from another human jellyfish, Rod Rosenstein. Those interested can read his letter in full here:
MSNBC legal specialist Ari Melber last night observed the "entire process is clearly suspect" and none of it passes the most basic smell test. We're expected to buy that a greenhorn, deputy AG (Rod Rosenstein) comes into office and within 13 days is looking for a mid -term firing of the FBI Director? (This happened only once before, in 1993, and only after a full review by the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility.)
And then, he conveys this missive - not in the typical DOJ format - e.g. through research memoranda with legal precedents cited, and formal citations but with a series of quotes from op-ed pieces and public remarks. In other words, invoking an amateurish style more apropos to a political campaign, indicating zero legal rigor or objective inquiry. The clumsy, superficial product could almost have been written by Steve Bannon or Jeff Sessions - who was Trump's numero uno cheerleader during the campaign. In Melber's words, it "makes for concern because of the lack of separation of powers", i.e. as reflected in the modus operandi employed. I agree. The whole thing smells like a set up, contrived through and through, to facilitate Trump's torpedoing of the FBI investigation into his Russian links.
So if you buy into the tripe that the reasons for Comey's firing truly were as stated by Trump, I have a plot of beach front land in Barbados to GIVE you for a Bajan buck. (Equal to $ 0.50 U.S.)
The reasons for further ultra-skepticism are not difficult to process:
1) The timing. WHY NOW? Comey's ham-handed handling of HRC's emails has been known since July, then his October 28th fuckup too - which many believe cost Hillary the key votes to prevail - though this is up for some debate. If Trump, Sessions etc. were so all -fired upset why not fire Comey right after his inauguration?
The reason is simple: Comey hadn't yet stepped over the line to prove himself a dire threat to Trump. That occurred during Comey's appearance (on March 20) before the House Intelligence Committee. Therein he dismissed Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor during the campaign. Not only that, Comey took the extraordinary step of announcing that the F.B.I. is investigating whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Make no mistake that Comey’s acknowledgement had created a treacherous political moment for Trump, who had insisted that “Russia is fake news” that was cooked up by his political opponents to undermine his presidency. To be succinct then, the March 20 appearance put James Comey in Trump's rifle sights.
2) The fig leaf DOJ dismissal basis letter and Session's endorsement of it (a violation of his supposed recusing himself from the FBI investigation Comey cited) was not needed in any case because an active Inspector General's investigation was underway. So why not wait for it instead of hitting the chicken switch? Well, because former deputy AG Sally Yates appearance on Monday, along with former DNI James Clapper's referencing of how much foreign intel has been collected (via phone intercepts) on the Trumpies, sent the WH into hair on fire panic mode.
3) The combination of factors alerted Trump's reptilian brain stem it had to act and fast. The easiest response - which killed the most "birds" with one stone- would be firing Comey. That would amount to an instant act of decapitation, not only of Comey but the FBI's investigation into the Trump-Russkie ties. Using the ruse of Comey's mishandling of the Hillary email server also would come off - to a dumb media - of casting the Donald as a latter day changeling. Who now would strike down Hillary's tormentor and give Trump "brownie points" in so doing.
The problem, as The Financial Times' Edward Luce has pointed out, is it makes zero sense. In Luce's words:
"Mr. Trump is asking the US public to believe he 'terminated and removed' the FBI director for having treated Mrs. Clinton unfairly. This was the same opponent whom Mr. Trump said should be locked up for mishandling her emails."
Why on earth then would the guy who incessantly called for Hillary's head during the campaign (via his "Lock her up!" mantra) now suddenly have a change of heart and wish to excavate some kind of personal sanction on her behalf? Well uh no, any dummy could see it was merely a transparent ploy to throw the media off with a smoke screen, where the real reason was to squelch Comey's FBI investigation. Trump, like Nixon with his firing of Archibald Cox, wanted the investigation going no further.
As historian Michael Beschloss put it this a.m. on 'Morning Joe', yes, a new FBI director might be up to the task but he'd first have to earn the nation's trust and also the trust of the Bureau itself - many of whom are literally in mourning now in the wake of Trump's cowardly act.
Further, a new FBI director - even if he was a forthright and courageous as Comey - would be hamstrung without a fully independent commission similar to the 9/11 commission (in the opinion of Michael Beschloss). Also, we'd need a special prosecutor, someone like Archibald Cox in the case of Watergate, who Richard Nixon then had fired in the "Saturday Night Massacre".
(On a side note, I have to reprimand the imps - like Bob Woodward- insisting "this is not the same because Nixon didn't fire an FBI Director". Whether Archibald Cox was an FBI Director is not the point. The point is that both Trump and Tricky Dick fired the heads of investigations looking into their respective nefarious deeds.)
That Saturday Night Massacre tilted toward a Constitutional crisis but it was averted because ultimately, it triggered the release of a series of highly incriminating Watergate tapes (betraying Nixon's scheming with Bob Haldeman et al) and led 11 Republicans to side with House Democrats to move for impeachment. Those Republicans were to be commended for turning against their Republican President because they found his actions indefensible.
The situation is different now because no Republicans seem willing to move forward with a real investigation into the Trump-Russian collusion or Trump's firing of the man leading the investigation into it. Not enough Republicans are prepared to find Trump's actions indefensible - especially the latest - on top of threatening the press, also threatening the judicial branch. This means the normal checks and balances that should be operative, i.e. to keep a felonious executive in check, are not functioning.
This bespeaks a full Constitutional crisis for which the only way out will be House Dems and Republicans closing ranks - at least to set up a formal independent commission (following Beschloss' advice) and also enabling a Special Prosecutor.
Let's hope enough Republicans find their backbones soon, and are prepared to find a litany of Trump's actions indefensible, not just this latest acting out. If not, I fear the future of this country will not be secure or sustained.
Blogger Chris Floyd's words here are relevant:
"Trump has actually been pretty open about his desire to be such an autocratic figure, and of course his vizier Bannon is even more candid about his desire to "destroy the administrative state" and build a new, nationalist order. We're not just through the looking glass these days -- we've shattered it to pieces and are rocketing into the unknown at a thousand miles an hour."
That "unknown" marks a total fascist state and our Constitution becoming "just a piece of paper". Will it happen? We will have to do all in our power to ensure it doesn't but that also entails our representatives acting to uphold and defend the Constitution. If my Revolutionary War ancestor Conrad Brumbaugh were alive now, he'd enjoin them to place country over party and he'd implore the agents of the FBI to use James Comey's firing as motivation to push ever more aggressively forward in their ongoing investigation.
The news tonight that three days before his firing FBI Director James Comey had asked for more resources in his investigation of the Trump -Russia connections, instantly puts the kibosh on the lame BS spouted by Trump that Comey was fired for "not doing a good job". In addition, well placed sources noted Trump was highly agitated that Comey continued to pursue the collusion aspect as opposed to focusing on leaks. Like the fool he is Trump never foresaw the firestorm that would erupt by his impetuous action. Now, even his agenda and that of the GOP is derailed, which is a good thing for the rest of us. .