A TrumpComey-D

This week President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. One might well say “so what”. Pundits claim the optics are terrible, and others say the White House explanation simply does not pass the smell test. Now, many are asking, “does the firing pass the hearing test”?

At first, sources claimed Comey’s firing stemed from newly confirmed Justice Department second in command, Rod Rosenstein’s review and recommendation. Then the narrative progressed to President Trump’s dissatisfaction with Comey’s listening skills. President Trump is said to have been privately lobbying for Comey’s replacement for a few weeks because Director Comey seemed obtuse to hints to end the alleged Russian investigations. Now in an interview with NBC, President Trump said the decision to fire Director Comes was his alone because Comey was a “showboater”. Why would the President say that?

The White House was quick to remind everyone that the Constitution grants the President those powers. (Sound familiar to words used with the two stayed Muslim travel ban executive orders? No need to provide a credible justification, just claim anything and rely on Constitutional powers.) Apparently the argument goes, “I have the authority and that’s all I need to tell you”. Hmmm.

Several pundits say that Director Comey was fired because he was not loyal to the President (in Trump’s mind), and was prioritizing the Russian investigation too highly (this probably upset both Trump and Sessions). Both of these reasons should be troubling to thinking Americans. Et tu Brute, don’t you remember the system of checks and balances?

In the first 100+ days of the Trump White House, Americans (and especially Congress) are seeing a very worrisome demonstration of executive authority combined with arrogance. Being decisive is no vice. Being decisive in the sense of temperamental outbursts represents a dangerous character flaw, and one that time in the job is very unlikely to improve. Director Comey’s firing, because of its impulsive nature and the lack of “why now” explanation, does not bode well for future decisions.  The firing looks too much like a “sick comedy”.

While it is true that President Trump has the right to fire the FBI Director, he does not have the right, even as President, to interfere with an investigation (obstruction of justice). At this point we must assume that the President was impulsive and not trying intentionally to retard a Federal investigation. What happens next in terms of a new Director nomination, and what steps Congress takes, will give a jittery public a good indication on the real Donald Trump and the real meaning of the Trump Comey-D.

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