#PutiTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor
The basic conundrum, the New York Times explained Tuesday night:
By firing the F.B.I. director, James Comey, late Tuesday afternoon, President Trump has cast grave doubt on the viability of any further investigation into what could be one of the biggest political scandals in the country’s history.
The explanation for this shocking move—that Mr. Comey’s bungling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server violated longstanding Justice Department policy and profoundly damaged public trust in the agency—is impossible to take at face value. Certainly Mr. Comey deserves all the criticism heaped upon him for his repeated missteps in that case, but just as certainly, that’s not the reason Mr. Trump fired him.
Mr. Comey was fired because he was leading an active investigation that could bring down a president. Though compromised by his own poor judgment, Mr. Comey’s agency has been pursuing ties between the Russian government and Mr. Trump and his associates, with potentially ruinous consequences for the administration.
It almost seems like #WhatTheyVotedFor is to live in television-fantasy melodrama—America: The Series. The next two paragraphs of the Times editorial are nigh on unreal, except that’s the thing, isn’t it, this is really happening. Still, it ought to be devastating:
With congressional Republicans continuing to resist any serious investigation, Mr. Comey’s inquiry was the only aggressive effort to get to the bottom of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign. So far, the scandal has engulfed Paul Manafort, one of Mr. Trump’s campaign managers; Roger Stone, a longtime confidant; Carter Page, one of the campaign’s early foreign-policy advisers; Michael Flynn, who was forced out as national security adviser; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself in March from the Russia inquiry after failing to disclose during his confirmation hearings that he had met twice during the campaign with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
We have said that Mr. Comey’s atrocious handling of the Clinton email investigation, which arguably tipped the election to Mr. Trump, proved that he could not be trusted to be neutral, and that the only credible course of action would be the appointment of a special prosecutor. Given all that has happened—the firing of the F.B.I. director, on top of Mr. Trump’s firing of the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, and his dismissal of nearly all United States attorneys—the need for such a prosecutor is plainer than ever. Because Mr. Sessions is recused, the decision to name a special prosecutor falls to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whose memo, along with a separate one by Mr. Sessions, provided Mr. Trump with the pretense to fire Mr. Comey.
Image note: Top ― #PutiTrump: Composite of protest image with frame from campaign appearance via YouTube. Right ― Former FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr., circa May, 2017. (Photo: Gabriella Demczuk/New York Times)
Editorial Board. “Trump’s Firing of Comey Is All About the Russia Inquiry”. The New York Times. 9 May 2017.