Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trump and Comey

Fascinating story at Politico:
President Donald Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week. When he finally pulled the trigger Tuesday afternoon, he didn't call James Comey. He sent his longtime private security guard to deliver the termination letter in a manila folder to FBI headquarters.

He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said. . . .
That's the first things that jumps out at me; the sources for all of this are Trump staffers close enough to the president that they watch tv with him, but they are eager to trash him to Politico. There's a tight ship.

The second thing is, how could Trump possibly have thought that this would get his Russia troubles out of the news?
By ousting the FBI director investigating his campaign and associates, Trump may have added more fuel to the fire he is furiously trying to contain — and he was quickly criticized by a chorus of Republicans and Democrats. "The timing of this firing was very troubling," said Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican. . . .

But the fallout seemed to take the White House by surprise. Trump made a round of calls around 5 p.m., asking for support from senators. White House officials believed it would be a "win-win" because Republicans and Democrats alike have problems with the FBI director, one person briefed on their deliberations said.

Instead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told him he was making a big mistake — and Trump seemed "taken aback," according to a person familiar with the call.
There is it again; somebody close enough to Trump to know how he reacted to a phone call eager to tell Politico what a fool his boss is. And he is being a fool; firing Comey is about the worst possible way to put this behind him. Kevin Drum:
Trump's astronomical ignorance has finally caught up with him. He seems to have had no idea that firing Comey wouldn't stop the investigation—nor that a new FBI director wouldn't dare quash it. In fact, all the firing does is make the investigation untouchable. Trump's astronomical narcissism has caught up with him too. He has so little insight into other humans that he simply couldn't conceive of anyone hating Comey but still defending his right to serve out his term. In Trump's world, you reward your friends and punish your enemies and that's that.
I continue to think that nothing will ever really come of this. Anyone in a position to know of a deal between Putin and Trump would be a thoroughly unsatisfactory witness, and any document could too easily be dismissed as fake. But this looks likely to trundle on for months, maybe all the way to the 2018 election.


G. Verloren said...

Number 45 has all the symptoms of dementia. This is just ever more evidence to support the notion that he is mentally unfit.

On that note, how do we, the citizens, go about demanding that the POTUS be made to undergo psychiatric evaluation? Do we have to pressure Congress to do something about it?

Unknown said...

"I continue to think that nothing will ever really come of this. Anyone in a position to know of a deal between Putin and Trump would be a thoroughly unsatisfactory witness, and any document could too easily be dismissed as fake."

That sounds like something one could have easily said about Watergate, six months in. Nixon's presidency was pretty much crippled months before the taping system was revealed--that is, months before there was any solid evidence, or any prospect of solid evidence, of Nixon's criminal involvement.

I doubt that Trump will ever rid himself of this incubus.

That said, I'm pretty amazed more Americans aren't scandalized by the simple suggestion of Russian interference in a US election, regardless of whether it had an effect, and regardless of whether Trump was involved in it. This is especially troubling in Republicans, who are supposed to be the patriot party.

G. Verloren said...


I think the rank and file Republicans aren't shocked because the Republican leadership seems to be so unconcerned with it. The thinking seems to be "If it was really a problem, someone in charge would let us know".

A lot of people don't base their viewpoint on any actual knowledge and analysis of a given situation, but rather just align their views with those of the confident sounding people in positions of authority whom they feel most drawn to.

So with the Trump camp constantly shouting "Fake News! Conspiracy! Liberal Agenda!", and most mainstream Republicans just quietly following along without much comment, is it any surprise that many Republicans on the ground aren't in the least bit concerned?

Consider other issues. For example, global warming doesn't concern many Republicans because despite all the overwhelming global scientific consensus, the party leadership claims that it's all a hoax perpetrated by "the liberal media", tells them to ignore "the so-called facts", and reassures them that they don't actually have to go to all the unpleasant and inconvenient trouble of changing the ways they live and do business in order to protect the environment for generations to come.

And so it will go with the Russia situation. So long as the only Right-wing voices people hear are those saying "It's not a problem! Honest!", most Republicans simply aren't going to care. That might change once the evidence gets too overwhelming to deny, particularly if mainstream Republicans decide it's finally time to change their stance and start condemning Trump, but until that time, things continue as they are.

Shadow said...

So the child prince is prone to temper tantrums, and the attendants spend their days running hither and thither tending to the infant's irrational and contradictory demands. Maybe a warm bottle of milk will work? While a child with a temper cannot reason, he can strike out at whomever he focuses on, so it's a good idea to keep moving. A moving target is harder to hit.

It's the behavior of those closest to him, those with the least experience, that is most instructive. Their behavior demonstrates how easy it is for the allure of power when combined with the threat of falling from grace to corrupt. Dangerous in a strong democracy, worse elsewhere.

I will miss Comey, and by firing him Trump has managed to do something I didn't think was possible: he has managed to convince me an independent prosecutor is needed. Actually, I'd by-pass that and go straight to impeachment. Trump is a vicious, immoral, uncivil, bullying pathological liar who lies constantly. Plenty there to build articles of impeachment.

Shadow said...

PS: Sean Spicer will not get another good night's sleep until his boss fires him. Spicer will probably send him a thank you note.