Saturday, May 13, 2017


My, how Trump's opinion of James Comey has changed!
Trump fired the now-former FBI director because he had lost his faith in Comey's ability to run the investigative bureau.  Or so he said.  He had no problem with Comey investigating Hillary Clinton's e-mails and going over the top with how he disclosed information about the investigation, and only now Trump thinks that was a violation of protocol?  Comey's real violation of protocol was having the audacity to . . . investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In fact, he seems to have said as much to NBC's Lester Holt. :-O
Who recommended Comey's dismissal?  That depends on who you ask.  The White House press office and Vice President Pence said that the President acted on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - a man so obscure that people have trouble getting the pronunciation of his surname straight (it's "Rosenstine," not "Rosensteen") - but the brief memo Rosenstein wrote on Comey's recklessness gave no indication of such a recommendation.  Besides, Trump himself says he decided to fire Comey and had decided to do so on January 21 but was waiting for a good day to do it . . . before deciding that May 9 was as good a day as any.
When the FBI director is investigating your presidential campaign,  the best day to fire him is the twelfth of never.
Rosenstein - who was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General by a Senate vote of 94-6 just a few weeks before, is overseeing the Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself for having talked to a Russian government official.  It turns out the dismissal of Comey was endorsed by . . . Jeff Sessions.
Sessions won't comment on that.  He's too busy for pushing for punitive action against drug dealers that are out of proportion with their offenses.  Trump, meanwhile, has tried to get information on the investigation from Comey himself and has threatened him not to talk to anyone. "James Comey," Trump tweeted, "[had] better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
But so what, Trump himself isn't under investigation, right?  At least that's what he asked Comey, thus compromising the Russia investigation . . . just like when Bill Clinton conferred with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch over Hillary's e-mails on that plane, forcing Lynch to refer to Hillary investigation to . . . James Comey.
Democrats ought not to get cocky about this.  They were calling for action against Comey for how he handled the Hillary Clinton investigation, now all of a sudden he's a great guy?  Best to let the FBI speak up for Comey; he was well liked in the bureau despite reports to the contrary.  Look, although I'm no fan of Hillary, I don't approve of how Comey handled his investigation of her.  But even though he's made a few mistakes, he's been persistent in pursuing justice, and he's helped the FBI come a long way from its more embarrassing moments of the past twenty years.  Like this one.  
I don't hold out much optimism for this affair - which could be bigger than Watergate - getting investigated satisfactorily, given the partisanship involved.  Democrats are calling for a special prosecutor.  Republicans, including the insufferable Mitch McConnell, are insisting that the congressional investigations - the House investigation compromised to some degree by the behavior of Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) - continue until they run their course.  Senators from one party making appeals to the other over the matter on the Senate floor might as well be reading excerpts from "Trout Fishing In America" to each other.  But it's becoming more likely that Trump's administration will soon be dead in the water. 

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