President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the FBI, James B. Comey today. Rod Rosenstein, the new deputy AG who replaced Sally Yates, prepared a memo that recommended the firing, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions concurred.
1. Here’s how the New York Times described the firing in its story’s opening sentence:
President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the law enforcement official leading a wide-ranging criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
That’s pretty despicable, and as blatant an example of intentional negative spin as you are likely to see, even from the Times. There were so many justifications for firing Comey that the mind boggles. Attaching the act to the one elicit reason for firing Comey is just yellow journalism, and nothing but. The Times is really a shameless partisan organ now.
2. Should Comey have been fired? Of course. He didn’t have to be fired, but to say that at this point he was not trusted by either political party and was widely viewed as incompetent would be an understatement The fact that his testimony before Congress last week was not only riddled with errors, but riddled with errors that made headlines, was reason enough to fire him.
Shortly before the announcement, the FBI notified Congress by letter that Comey had misstated key findings involving the Hillary Clinton email investigation during testimony last week, but nothing about that issue seemed to suggest it might imperil Comey’s job….
In defending the probe at last week’s hearing, Comey offered seemingly new details to underscore the seriousness of the situation FBI agents faced last fall when they discovered thousands of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails on the computer of her husband, Anthony Weiner.
“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,” Comey said, adding later, “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of state.”… At another point in the testimony, Comey said Abedin “forwarded hundreds and thousands of emails, some of which contain classified information.’’
Neither of those statements is accurate, said people close to the investigation.
3. Comey deserved to be fired for the inexplicable botching of the Clinton investigation, especially as discussed here. Clinton wasn’t under oath when she was interviewed by the Bureau. Clinton chief-of-staff at the State Department Cheryl Mills, who was potentially complicit in everything Clinton did regarding the mishandled e-mails, was a likely witness and even an indictment candidate, yet was allowed to represent Hillary during questioning as her lawyer. No transcript of the interview was made. All incredibly incompetent.
4. Democrats now making comparisons with Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” really are shameless hypocrites. They have been calling for Comey’s head and blaming him for Clinton’s defeat since October. Now that Trump has done what they wanted to be done, it’s somehow sinister. This, however, is how the whole last six months have gone since the President’s election, and apparently Democrats no longer can tell when they make themselves look untrustworthy and ridiculous.
5. Wrote James Robbins in USA Today:
Comey had been a dead man walking for some time. He was a director without a constituency. He had tried to strike a balance in a sharply divided political environment and wound up alienating both sides. He had to go….The bottom line was that Comey repeatedly made himself the issue. His mandate was to enforce the law fairly and impartially. Instead, he appeared time and again to be gaming the system. A March poll showed that only 17% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Comey.
This is also pretty obvious, shouldn’t surprise anyone, and reason all by itself to fire Comey.
6. Trump’s letter firing Comey was unprofessionally snarky (or something), with its “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation..,” but that’s President Trump.
7. Was Comey in part a victim of circumstances beyond his control? Absolutely. One major circumstance was Obama AG Loretta Lynch allowing Bill Clinton to taint the entire Clinton e-mail investigation by meeting with her right before the FBI’s conclusions were going to be announced. Comey was also correct when he said that he literally could not make a “right” decision regarding the newly discovered e-mails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. If he withheld the information until after the election and some bombshell discovery was revealed, he would have been crucified. Nevertheless, nobody trusted him, especially after he gave inaccurate information to Congress last week. When nobody trusts the head of the FBI, he has to be fired.
8. If there is anything wrong with the firing, it is that it didn’t happen months ago. But I have never heard of an act that everyone agrees should have been done earlier being condemned when it finally happens.
9. Back to the Democrats now spinning this into something sinister: Have they no decency at all? When does this contrived and desperate anti-Trump slander and libel finally become so ridiculous that it is widely recognized for the embarrassment that it is?
David Axelrod on Twitter: “Putin made a small investment that, tonight, has paid off beyond his wildest dreams. His own “worm” in the heart of our democracy.”
Louise Mensch on Twitter: Of course it isn’t over. I think Nixon tried the same thing.
David Frum on Twitter: “It’s a coup.”
Robbie Mook (Hillary’s campaign manager) on Twitter: “I was as disappointed and frustrated as anyone at how the email investigation was handled. But this terrifies me.”
Tim Kaine on Twitter : “Trump firing Comey shows how frightened the Admin is over Russia investigation”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?”
Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin: “Any attempt to stop or undermine this FBI investigation would raise grave constitutional issues.”
This all would be really funny if it didn’t reveal the ethics rot in our politics. Keep it up, everybody. The President firing an official you have been assailing for six months, for allegedly illicitly affecting the 2016 election, is a threat to the democracy. I think you will find that the American public isn’t a stupid as you think it is.