President Trump went on the offensive yesterday against critics and conspiracy theorists who have been attacking him over his decision earlier this week to fire long-embattled FBI Director James Comey.
Trump fired Comey on Tuesday without warning, three-and-a-half years into his 10-year term, explaining in a letter that his employment was being terminated based on the recommendation of the Department of Justice. Both Republicans and Democrats have been furious with Comey in recent years because the unelected official inappropriately injected himself and the FBI into political matters.
As the firing of Comey sucked up all the media oxygen in America, Lester Holt of NBC News asked Trump in an interview about a meeting he had Monday with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein who wrote a memo recommending Comey be retired from his post.
“What I did is, I was going to fire Comey, my decision,” Trump said as he was interrupted by Holt. “I was going to fire Comey.”
Rosenstein “made a recommendation,” Trump said. “He’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy, the Democrats like him, the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey.”
“He’s a showboat, he’s grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” the president said of Comey. “You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.”
Asked if he was “angry with Mr. Comey because of his Russia investigation,” Trump replied, “I just want somebody that’s competent. I am a big fan of the FBI. I love the FBI.”
Trump said he didn’t attempt to strong-arm Comey into dropping the FBI probe of the Trump campaign. “I want to find out if there was a problem in the election having to do with Russia.”
“I actually asked him” if I was under investigation, Trump said, explaining that he spoke with Comey once over dinner and twice by telephone. “I said, if it’s possible would you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, ‘You are not under investigation.’”
“I know I’m not under investigation,” Trump said, adding he supports a probe into possible Russian interference in last year’s election. He said he wants the investigation to be done “absolutely properly” even though there was no “collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians” and “the Russians did not affect the vote.”
Leftists and Democrats were outraged, as is their wont.
There would have been outrage no matter when Trump dropped the hammer on Comey. There would have been outrage if Trump kept Comey on as FBI chief. Leftist and Democrat outrage is a constant no matter what.
“The timing of Director Comey’s dismissal to me and many committee members on both sides of the aisle is especially troubling,” Sen. Mark Warner, (D-Va.) said at the outset of a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday.
“He was leading an active counterintelligence investigation into any links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government or its representatives, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere in our election,” he said.
Warner himself has (or had) investments in Russia. The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2012 that he held “stock in the Russian search engine Yandex worth at least $6.75 million.”
Democrat hypocrisy and duplicitousness about Comey are everywhere.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) put on an impressive show of – depending on your point of view – either compartmentalization or cognitive dissonance during an NBC News interview with Peter Alexander. “I do not necessarily support the president’s decision,” she said, but if Hillary Clinton had become president she should have fired Comey in Waters’s view.
Trump tried to put his most adamant critics in their place yesterday by tweeting a video montage showing prominent Democrats expressing their opinions about Comey before he was fired. In the clip, they can be seen denouncing Comey, and in some cases calling on him to resign or be fired. But now that he’s been fired they are defending him because as head of the FBI he might have been useful given that he was convinced Russia acted to help Trump and hurt Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton during the election cycle.
So Democrats were against Comey before they were for him.
According to the video, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Oct. 30, 2016, “I am appalled at what Director Comey did.” Three days later, the New York senator said, “I do not have confidence in him any longer.”
But on Tuesday Schumer was indignant about Comey’s termination. The canning of Comey was part of “a deeply troubling pattern” from the Trump administration. He demanded a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the alleged ties between Trump’s associates and Russia.
In the video, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York urged then-President Obama to terminate Comey’s tenure. “The president ought to fire Comey immediately and he ought to initiate an investigation,” Nadler said Nov. 14, 2016.
But the day Comey was fired, Nadler was enraged:
The firing of FBI Director Comey by President Trump is a terrifying signal of this Administration’s continued abuse of power on so many levels. The FBI Director was fired for one reason and one reason only – he appears to have been conducting a serious investigation into the Trump campaign’s connection with the Russians. Period. It is clear that the reasons given today for the firing of Director Comey are pretext, they are excuses, they are not true, they are lies. All other justifications offered by this Administration are a smokescreen.
Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia said Jan. 13 of Comey: “He should pack his things and go.” “I don’t have confidence in this man to lead the FBI,” he said.
But on Wednesday all was forgiven. Johnson attacked Trump for firing Comey, characterizing it as part of the president’s continuing “assault on our Republic.”
“The abrupt and unwarranted firing of James Comey appears to be another impulsive act; but a deeper view may reveal a cold, calculated and self-serving attempt to derail ongoing investigations.”
Former vice presidential candidate and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said May 5, “I think [Comey’s letter] will go down as probably the lowest moment in the history of the FBI, probably next to the decision of J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Martin Luther King.”
Kaine was apparently referring to the Oct. 28, 2016 letter Comey sent congressional leaders about the email scandal of his running-mate, Hillary Clinton. In it he advised that new emails that “appear to be pertinent to the investigation” about whether Clinton or her staffers had mishandled classified information had surfaced.
After Comey was fired, Kaine said the firing was “outrageous.”
“I think this is a clear attempt by President Trump to thwart and block and undermine the investigation into collusion and ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, transition, and administration.”
Just last week, Clinton blamed Comey for her loss in the November election.
“I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off,” Clinton said.
The email investigation may soon be revisited. Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge said yesterday that a new FBI director may re-open the case. Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said the case needs to be “reevaluated” because the wrong legal standard was applied.
The letter Trump sent Comey on Tuesday saying his services were no longer required at the FBI, referenced a Justice Department memo savaging Comey’s conduct of July 5, 2016.
On that day Comey acknowledged evidence was accumulating against then-candidate Hillary Clinton and described it at some length during a press conference. He also acknowledged the former secretary of state probably broke the law when she used hacker-friendly homebrew private email servers to conduct official business.
But after airing Clinton’s dirty laundry, Comey refused to do anything about her misconduct. Comey said Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified documents but there was no evidence of criminal intent. He made this statement even though the relevant national security statute does not actually require intent: mishandling intelligence, even inadvertently, is enough to land people with less pull than Hillary has, in hot water.
The next day then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed no charges would be laid against Hillary. Lynch had met clandestinely with former President Bill Clinton at a Phoenix airport a week before.
Meanwhile, Georgetown Law professor Jonathan Turley, an honest leftist, attempted to inject reason into the ongoing witch hunt against Trump over alleged electoral collusion with Russia.
Trump may have created “a major credibility problem” by firing Comey, but with that said, the whole Trump-Russia saga is much ado about nothing.
First of all for many weeks, I’ve actually questioned the need for a special prosecutor because I’m not too sure what the crime is. No one has yet to explain to me what the core crime that would be investigated with regards to Russian influence. The crimes that have been mentioned are things like failure to disclose items with General [Mike] Flynn and that’s hardly something that’s a major crime justifying a special counsel.
I think the way that the White House fired Comey and when more importantly does give greater justification for the appointment of a special counsel. There’s a lot of people who were not convinced by what the Deputy Attorney General said were the reasons for Comey’s termination.
I criticize many of those folks that are saying this had to be because the investigation’s closing in on Trump. I don’t see the crime, so I don’t see how it’s closing in on Trump.
There’s nothing there.
And the more that Democrats put all their eggs in the Russian scandal basket, the harder it will be for Americans to take them seriously after the hysteria subsides.