President Donald Trump yesterday apparently decided things were getting dull around Foggy Bottom. He fired FBI Director James Comey…and he did it in Trumpian fashion. (Yes, that’s becoming a word.) He sent out a letter that was disseminated with the media. Comey, who was at the FBI’s Field Office in Los Angeles at the time, saw the news on television and thought he was being pranked. I suppose an Apprentice-like sit-down where Trump uttered his famous catch-phrase would have been too cliché.
Comey was appointed in 2013 and had not yet served 6 years of what should have been a 10-year term. That he finished short should surprise no one. When you have a unique talent for pissing off Democrats AND Republicans, you’re probably not going to last long at your government job.
The reactions have been predictable, falling hard into one of the two camps into which opinions MUST collect these days. Trump supporters say it’s all part of the President’s promise to “drain the swamp.” On the left, we’ve heard the phrase “Constitutional Crisis” bandied about more than….well, since the last time a Republican did something significant in the White House. If nothing else, it has allowed journalists across the country to discover that “Nixonian” includes a little squiggly red line underneath it when you type it into Microsoft Word.
The Daily Caller is reporting that Comey was fired, in part, because he would not publicly state that there were no links between the Trump administration and Russia. That’s according to a source inside the White House. That would explain why Trump’s letter includes the curious phrasing:
“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,”
I must say it HAS been fun witnessing the weapons-grade schizophrenia that Comey has elicited over the past ten months. And I will plead guilty to joining in that. Last July, when he laid out a brutal case for prosecuting Hillary Clinton over her e-mail server, then recommended NO charges, he was a scion of impartial investigative prudence. His insertion of the “intent” threshold to the Federal Espionage Act made the right wonder what “goods” the Clinton campaign had on him. They painted Comey as a corrupt Clinton colleague and called for his scalp.
Fast-forward to October 27th. A little more than a week before a Presidential Election that (according to polls) was going to be a clear victory for Clinton, Comey emerged from his bureaucratic hole again. He sent Congress a letter, telling them about extra Clinton e-mails that had been found on the laptop of alleged pedophile Anthony Weiner during their investigation of the former New York politician. Comey said he was basically in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. If he said nothing, and the information was uncovered much later (presumably with Hillary in the White House), it would have looked like the FBI was covering for her. If he updated Congress, there was a chance he would be perceived as trying to influence the election. He made his choice. The rest is history.
The fact that Hillary Clinton still feels this is the number-one reason she is not “President Hillary Clinton” should make those on the right be forever giddy. You know—the same people who demanded Comey’s head on a silver charger in July.
Yesterday, the FBI sent Congress additional information in reference to Comey’s most recent testimony. Last week, he told Congress that Clinton Aide Huma Abedin has sent “thousands” of emails from Clinton’s server to her husband’s laptop. Turns out it was only around a dozen or so. That’s a pretty significant misstep.
So basically, President Trump fired someone who worked “at his pleasure.” He fired a man who had managed to make pretty much everyone in Washington angry at one point since last summer. He fired a man who had apparently lost the confidence of a vast majority of Americans. He fired a man who appeared to breach previous FBI protocol about dissemination of information about an active probe. And he fired a man who had made a significant error in testimony last week to a Senate Committee.
I will be the first to admit, I have no freaking clue what’s going on behind the scenes here. And neither do you. This is an elevated game of Spy Vs. Spy and Bureaucrat vs. Bureaucrat that means very little to John Q. Public. I’ll glean what I can, secure in the knowledge that we will NEVER know the ins and outs—even after Comey gets an eight-figure advance to right his tell-all book.
You can disagree with the wisdom of the firing, the timing or even the principle. But it is not a “coup,” it is not “treason,” it is not a “Constitutional Crisis,” and it is a not an “abuse of power.” Comey will be replaced. The investigations that are currently underway will continue. And life will go on. Until the next manufactured Armageddon.
In the meantime, ♩♩ I’m just sittin’ here watching the wheels go round and round. ♩♩