“Even Nixon’s people were not so incompetent in lying” – David Gergen, adviser to four different presidents, both Republican and Democratic.
Where’s our Eliot Richardson? Where’s our William Ruckelshaus? Where is our Lawrence Hogan? These are the men—of the same party as a damaged president—who wouldn’t fall in line, wouldn’t go along and instead put the nation’s interests in front of their party’s. There seems to be no one of this moral character who will stand up to President Trump as he engineered the firing of the man leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections with the Russian government.
Just how the firing of FBI Director James Comey came about is a moving target. First, the White House claimed the firing came as a response to a recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein had penned a memo saying Comey botched the Hillary Clinton email scandal.
Is there anyone in this country—Republican, Democrat, independent, or anyone that shows signs of brain activity—who believed that Trump fired Comey because the FBI head mishandled the email scandal? Trump repeatedly praised Comey on that issue.
The president promptly contradicted his own people including the vice president.
Perhaps the most telling of the thinking of the president was his own spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, saying the firing of Comey would hopefully speed along the conclusion of the Russian-meddling investigation. Trump himself tweeted Monday—before the firing—that the probe was a hoax.
(If Sanders is auditioning for Sean Spicer’s job, the tryout was a disaster. She accused Comey of committing “atrocities” with the chain of command. “Atrocities” are what happened in WW II and is happening with the Islamic State.)
The administration even dug up the long-missing Kellyanne Conway. Of course, she was the person who went on television and said Michael Flynn had the full support of the president…hours before Flynn was sacked.
All indications are that Comey’s and the Senate’s investigations were accelerating. Comey asked for more resources for the probe. The Senate has subpoenaed Michael Flynn for records on his connections to the Russian government. Comey refused to back Trump’s outrageous claim that President Obama had him surveilled. (No one has for that matter). The bloodhounds are at the door and Trump is getting desperate.
Also contradicting part of the White House’s explanation for the firing is the new acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.
Maybe McCabe should update his resume.
The worst part of all of this is that people like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are falling in lock step with Trump. McConnell refuses to back a special prosecutor even though the House Intelligence Committee investigation is a joke (see Rep. Nunes) and the White House seems to be tossing out scenarios explaining the Comey firing like a catcher throwing down signals that the pitcher is continuing to shake off.
The optics could not have been worse Wednesday. The Russian Foreign Minister met with Secretary of State Tillerson and mocked Comey’s firing.
Then, surreally, Trump met with the foreign minister and then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the White House. Photographers from the Russian news agency Tass were permitted to shoot the meeting while the American media was kept out. You didn’t read that wrong and I didn’t write it wrong: Photographers from the Russian news agency Tass were permitted to take pictures of the meeting while the American media was kept out.
It is incumbent upon McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to put the interests of the nation before that of their party. It is not hyperbole to say that the moves these men make in the face of what is quickly becoming a constitutional crisis will be judged by history.