Ready for the latest? Various news reports have surfaced describing that Trump’s demeanor over Comey in the lead-up to his firing was pretty personal: “infuriated”, “white hot”, “enraged….fuming about Russia” and “impatient with what he viewed as his sanctimony” are adjectives thrown around by aides close to the president who have spoken (on condition of anonymity) to the press. “Really upset how unfairly he treated Hillary” was not on anyone’s lips. How can anyone with a brain really doubt that this wasn’t about lack of public trust in Comey and that it wasn’t about the Clinton email investigation? This was sacking the guy who was investigating you, pure and simple.
Meanwhile the original narrative (that Rod Rosenstein was the guy who set Comey’s firing in motion) is completely falling apart. Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz and Robert Costa from the Washington Post report hat Deputy AG Rosenstein “threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation.” Prior to this whole affair, Rosenstein has enjoyed a pretty solid reputation, and he clearly isn’t going to be the fall guy for Trump’s rash and absurdly timed move. On the other hand, it’s been reported that Comey came to Rosenstein looking for additional funding for the Russian probe shortly before Rosenstein’s memo issued, recommending Comey’s discharge for what amounted to ancient history and no new facts, so there’s that.
Another thing that’d been going on with Comey: a much more aggressive posture toward the Russia probe. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago….Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion.” If you’re still defending the decision as innocent and meant to restore the integrity of the FBI, this is where you should start sticking your fingers in your ears and repeating la la la la la loudly. I just like seeing you act so mature.
Meanwhile, Trump, without likely intending to, has reignited his old feud with the intelligence community, which was simmering by the time he took office, and made it go supernova. According to WashPost: “Within the Justice Department and the FBI, the firing of Comey has left raw anger, and some fear….Trump has essentially declared war on a lot of people at the FBI” one official said. “I think there will be a concerted effort to respond over time in kind.”
Even key Republicans, who have yet to abandon ship, agree the firing has intensified the investigations, which is pretty much the opposite of what Trump hoped to do with his typically impulsive, failing-to-consider-consequences move. As reported in the L.A. Times, an email circulating among prominent Republicans from A.B. Culvahouse, Jr. a former Reagan White House counsel and head of Trump’s vice presidential search effort, laments that the firing “both prolongs the FBI/DOJ investigation and undermines the credibility of the Trump campaign’s denials of no conspiracy with Putin.” That’s right: even a guy who was integral to the campaign thinks that Comey’s firing, and the timing of it, really makes Trump look guilty.
Oh, yeah. The Washington Post has reported that Trump made the decision to fire Comey over all the stuff I mentioned in the first paragraph by last weekend, when he was playing golf in Bedminster, NJ, and gave them a directive: explain in writing the case against Comey.
Go ahead, Trumpistas. Tell me the official story isn’t a pretext.