I have read the initial comments on the original post-–which I interrupted my viewing of a Red Sox game to write, just so you know how dedicated I am—had some additional thoughts and processed some new data. Here are some more observations:
1. The New York Times biased reporting is even worse than I thought. Today’s print edition has a “Saturday Night Massacre” size headline screaming:
TRUMP FIRES COMEY AMID RUSSIA INQUIRY
This is deceit, and, as I noted before, yellow journalism. It is technically accurate, but misleading and false anyway. Trump also fired Comey in May, “amid” the North Korea crisis, and while the Orioles were playing the Nationals. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Comey’s firing had anything to do with the Russia investigation except this: Comey thoroughly botched the last major investigation the FBI was engaged in.
The Times goes further, adding another above the fold story headlined, “The President Lands a Punch, and Many Hear Echoes of Watergate.” Ah, the old “many say/many hear/many think” ploy—an unethical journalism classic. Let’s seed the unfair suspicion without taking responsibility for it! Hey, we didn’t say we thought that, just that others do!
2. Many have noted that President Hillary would have fired Comey within seconds of taking office, or as close to that as possible. This is doubtlessly true. It is also true that Republicans would probably be attacking her with as much fury and blatant hypocrisy as Democrats are attacking the firing now.
But doing something unethical in an alternate universe is still not as damning is doing it in this one.
3. I have been working on a “100 Days” overview of the ethics score since President Trump took office. In general, it is both remarkable and disturbing how closely the President’s actual performance tracks with my expectations, as explained over the last two years. One aspect of this mostly negative assessment that is undeniably positive, however is that President Trump, unlike his predecessor, does not fear making decisions, and makes them despite the amount of criticism he knows will be coming, especially from the news media. (The previous President knew that he had nothing to fear from the news media, since it was invested in making him seem successful and wise even when he wasn’t.)
The firing of Comey is a perfect example, as was the decision to enforce, belatedly, Obama’s “red line” in Syria.
4. Nowhere near enough focus has landed on Rod Rosenstein (left) , the deputy attorney general who was only confirmed a couple of weeks ago ( April 25, 2017). Rosenstein is an impressive lawyer with a long, distinguished record in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and authored the “Memorandum to the Attorney General” on the subject of “Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI.” This articulates the best reasons for firing Comey, and any critic who argues that it made sense to keep him on is tasked with rebutting Rosenstein’s brief. Good luck with that.