So, just when you thought the roller coaster ride which has been the first few months of the Trump administration was starting to finally slow down, the president has shocked the world by firing FBI Director James Comey. Under any circumstances, such a dramatic act would cause an earthquake inside the Washington Beltway. But given the context of how we got here, this will understandably be seen more as the exploding of a nuclear bomb.
Obviously with Comey having been directing an investigation into Trump’s campaign and possible collusion with Russia — and having been plausibly blamed for Trump’s fluke election victory for the way in which he handled the Hillary email issue — we were already in uncharted waters. Now, his firing by the man he may have inadvertently helped elect puts us beyond even the realm of the Twilight Zone, especially given the details surrounding it.
Here are some random thoughts as I try to wrap my mind around what the hell just happened…
The written justification for Comey’s firing is that LAST YEAR he mishandled the announcement of the (supposed) conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, both in the use of a press conference and him essentially going around then Attorney General Loretta Lynch. This is completely insane on every level and an obvious blatant lie.
So, we are supposed to believe that Trump fired Comey for holding a press conference from which he quoted constantly in the campaign, and for usurping the authority of an attorney general he mocked for having met with Bill Clinton on a tarmac, which was apparently the reason she effectively recused herself from that process?! Not only is this totally laughable, but it doesn’t even make any damn sense!
If this was really the justification for firing him, then he could have, and should have, done so on the day he took office. Back then, of course, Trump liked Comey because he helped him win the election and he apparently had no idea of the extent of the FBI investigation into his campaign.
So again, this has to be a lie.
So what is REALLY going on? Well, the one thing we know for SURE is that Trump’s “firing” letter to Comey gives him one positive PR element out of this which could — given his extreme narcissism and shortsightedness — be a significant motivator for the president. Trump went out of this way to claim, rather haphazardly, that Comey has told him on multiple occasions that the president is not, himself, currently under FBI investigation on the Russia matter.
For a sane person, such a small PR “win” would nowhere near justify the blow back which this brazen act will likely cause, as well as the potential damage it could create to the foundation of this country’s institutions. But we are clearly not dealing with a man who fully grasps, or even cares much about, the long-term implications of his actions, especially when they don’t appear to directly/immediately impact him.
As bizarre as it seems, I believe that this explanation, while probably not his full motivation, is actually the BEST case scenario for the country. Under this scenario, Trump is sick of Comey and the Russian investigation being a pain is his ass; he wants the world to know that the only person who really matters, himself; is supposedly NOT under investigation; and he decides that he can kill two birds with one stone by firing him while releasing that strategically-crafted letter. Then he directs the justice department to come up with some other explanation for doing so and they dutifully go along with it.
I’ll bet Trump even got a laugh out of what they came up with, given that he got elected promising to “lock her up,” and now he fires the FBI Director, supposedly because he was too mean to the very same Hillary Clinton. You just can’t make this crap up!
The obvious darker scenario here is that Trump is extremely concerned that Comey was getting too close to something really damaging on Russia and the former FBI Director was making it clear that he wasn’t going to “play ball” in the way that “Trump the King” would expect someone who works for him would naturally do. I have been on the fence on the entire Russia matter with my gut telling me that there is much more smoke than fire in all of this. However, once again, Trump’s actions (or, more specifically, his overreactions) to this entire story remain 100% consistent with at least some culpability, or at least the fear of it.
What is really odd about this decision strategically is that it eliminates for ALL TIME any realistic chance that Trump will ever be fully and credibly cleared in this matter. There will now always be a dark cloud of legitimate suspicion, no matter what the ultimate outcome of the investigation may be. Why would an innocent man, presumably planning on running for reelection, ever do such a thing?
With any other president we would know for sure that this reality had already been factored into his decision and thus we could properly interpret the act through that prism. But, alas, this is Donald Trump we are talking about here, so it is possible that he just never even thought about that problem. We can never forget that Trump often acts like a man/boy who could die almost any day.
Amidst all of this confusion and chaos there is one element of which I am absolutely certain. If Comey had stayed silent on Hillary’s emails (like Trump now seems to think he should have), she won the election, and then she fired Comey in a nonsensical manner months later, the “conservative” media would go absolutely batshit crazy. Sean Hannity, for instance, would not stop talking about the ensuing scandal for literally years to come.
I’m quite confident that won’t be the way that Trump’s state-run media outlets will reaction to this outrage. If there is one thing that we have learned over the last year about all news involving James Comey, it is that it provokes stunningly overt hypocrisy from all political sides. The way his firing will be portrayed will be no different.
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