Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trump is wrong on Democrats and Comey — the president's actions deserve serious scrutiny

Democrats can simultaneously condemn actions of Comey while still finding Trump's actions deplorable

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday night to explain, in nuanced detail, why he fired FBI director James Comey earlier this week.

Just kidding. He took to Twitter to bash his political opponents.

Trump didn’t understand why Democrats, including many who had called for Comey to resign months ago, were suddenly now outraged at Trump for canning the FBI director.

Trump included a video in which Democrats complained about Comey and demanded he resign.

But Trump is proving that he has a one-track mind on this issue — or, he’s hoping that you do.

Democrats can be both critical of Comey and see his ouster as disturbing. It’s fairly transparent, after all, that his firing had EVERYTHING to do with Trump and Russia — Trump has been visibly uncomfortable with the direction the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference with last year’s presidential election was heading. In particular, Trump had grown frustrated with Comey over the latter’s refusal to acknowledge the former’s insistence that Barack Obama had “wiretapped” him at Trump Tower in 2016.

This isn’t my own assumption: aides within the White House itself have made these observations. From the New York Times (emphases in bold added):
For public consumption, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said on Wednesday that Mr. Trump acted because of the “atrocities” committed by Mr. Comey during last year’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email. But in private, aides said, Mr. Trump has been nursing a collection of festering grievances, including Mr. Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation and the perceived disloyalty over the wiretapping claim.

Mr. Comey’s fate was sealed by his latest testimony about the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election and the Clinton email inquiry. Mr. Trump burned as he watched, convinced that Mr. Comey was grandstanding. He was particularly irked when Mr. Comey said he was “mildly nauseous” to think that his handling of the email case had influenced the election, which Mr. Trump took to demean his own role in history.
This is some really disturbing stuff. Trump’s motivation for firing Comey wasn’t about Hillary Clinton at all — it was clearly because Trump felt affronted by Comey’s Russia investigation, and perhaps because said investigation was getting too close to the president himself.

And Democrats recognize this. They may not have liked Comey before — some may have even asked for him to resign in the past — but anytime the president performs an action this egregious, it has to be called out. Trump simply wanted someone he viewed as a threat out of the way.

Certainly, Trump shouldn’t be allowed to pick a successor to Comey that will take over the Russia investigation. For that, an independent special prosecutor must be appointed.

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