Well, This Will Be Fun

Trump firing Comey is going to produce a political fireball, I'll wager.


Dad29 said...

Long, long, past due. Let them scream. Comey elected himself a member of SCOTUS; now he has a chance to become a working stiff.

Gringo said...

I am waiting for Hillary to condemn Trump for doing this. YOu know, the Hillary who was just telling us that one reason for her defeat was that late in the campaign, Comey informed Congress about Hillary e-mails being found on Anthony Weiner's laptop. Bring on the popcorn.

Grim said...

Comey made a high-risk decision when he took it on himself to recommend non-prosecution for Clinton. I don't for a minute believe that is Trump's real reason for firing him -- I suspect Trump just wants rid of an FBI Director he doesn't control, and the chance to appoint a trusted friend to the office instead.

Still, when Comey decided to step into the ring and influence elections, he made his office political in a new way. It is little surprise that he's dying by the sword he chose to live by.

I wonder if McCain will get his Select Committee out of this? There will definitely be some who will agree that it is important to restore some sense of independence to the investigation into Trump's campaign.

jaed said...

The letter firing him was... interesting. "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau."

The really interesting investigation, I think, is not into Trump's campaign, but into the previous administration's monitoring of that campaign and possible attempts to influence it. The whole idea of "Russian connections" appears to me to be squid ink. There's approximately zero support for it.

Grim said...

Flynn looks to have some connections he didn't properly disclose, and Manafort, but a lot is being built on that. The Prince meeting in the Seychelles should put paid to the idea that there was a grand deal between Trump and Russia.

Still. This firing was legal, and by making himself a kingmaker Comey set himself up for it. But it's going to cause a huge set of problems because of the appearance of compromising an investigation into the President and his crew.

jaed said...

What investigation would that be?

Dad29 said...

Here's the thing: if Trump has Russki friends is that ipso facto bad?

What about if Hillary, or Obama, or Schumer, or Podesta? Oh--wait--Podesta, Hillary's campaign chairman, had all sorts of Russki connections--which he failed to report as legally required.

Here's an idea: let's appoint Comey as the special prosecutor for Podesta!!

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying this. What is particular fun are all of the "then-and-now" lists of quotes and video of Democratic politicians demanding Comey's firing and now excoriating Trump for doing so. We have been teaching our children well.

As for that collusion with the Russians, both Clapper and Yates were clear that there is nothing to that allegation.


Cassandra said...

This whole collusion with the Russians thing is idiotic beyond words.

Grim said...

What investigation would that be?

The FBI just issued a bunch of subpoenas re: Flynn and his associates, so there clearly is some sort of ongoing investigation at least into him. Given his prominent position in the early days of the Trump administration, there's no way of dodging a sense of overlap.

Grim said...

Apparently Comey had also just requested a major increase in funding for the Russia investigation, too: from the same guy who wrote the letter calling for him to be fired. So it's easy to paint this as tantamount to obstruction of justice by team Trump. Some real care will need to be taken to untangle the "let's make sure there is a reputable investigation" from "the FBI director really did need to be fired" issues.

E Hines said...

So it's easy to paint this as tantamount to obstruction of justice by team Trump.

It's easy for the Progressive-Democratic Party to paint anything with anti-Trump, anti-Republican paint. They've been overtly anti-Republican, because Republican, since Harry Reid said in so many words that he'd never work with President Romney. The Progressive-Democrats haven't moved away from that, egged on/supported as they are by the NLMSM.

The anti-Trump-he-fired-our-hated-Comey is nothing more than another episode of that.

Eric Hines

Cass said...

Here's my understanding of the current state of affairs:

1. Trump is not being investigated for anything.

2. The FBI is investigating Russian meddling in the election.

3. Flynn failed to disclose money he got for speaking in Russia, but did NOT make any attempt to hide the fact that he spoke there. In fact, he briefed the DIA about the trip at the time. So this really has nothing to do with the election (or supposed Russian meddling) either.

It's fine if they want to nail him for not disclosing the payment, but I don't see what that has to do with Trump or Russian meddling.

5. Flynn failed to disclose registering as a foreign agent for Turkey, nor did he disclose his fee. Again, unclear how any of this relates back to the Trump admin.

It's fine if they want to nail Flynn for not disclosing this payment or the apparent conflict of interest.

6. The FBI has already come out and said Flynn made no attempt to mislead them about the calls with the Kislyak, nor did he mislead them about what was discussed.

So what is Trump supposedly obstructing? Firing the FBI director doesn't halt ongoing investigations. If they were investigating Trump (which multiple people have said repeatedly that they're not doing) it's hard to think of a decision with worse optics.

The thing is, they all keep saying they're NOT investigating Trump.

Finally - weren't we all told that the FBI never, ever discloses the existence of ongoing investigations? And yet they seem to be doing that on a daily basis nowadays, allowing themselves to be drafted by partisans on both side into a vortex of idiotic accusations/counteraccusations, NONE of which seem so far to be based on anything real.

Reason enough to fire the guy, IMO>

Grim said...

It's possible to distinguish several cases intellectually; the problem is that it's not possible to distinguish the cases practically.

Consider a case in which nearly every major figure in DC has gone on the record as saying that Comey should be fired or should resign. He's not going to resign. There's only one guy who can fire him. Should that guy fire him?

A separate case: a President has watched his FBI lead pour time and energy into a case that looks to be going nowhere, which the President thinks has become a distraction. The FBI lead disagrees, and asks for more resources to pour into that case. The President now mistrusts the FBI head's judgment. Should he fire him?

A third case: The American public has lost all confidence, for manifest reasons, that the FBI head is apolitical. They can also see that he hasn't done a very good job stopping terrorist attacks, even though the FBI has accurately identified the proto-terrorists in each case. Should the FBI head be fired if he won't resign? Again, there's only one guy who can fire him.

But, unfortunately, a fourth case: the FBI head is investigating close allies of the President in a matter that is at least embarrassing to the President and his associates. Should the President fire him?

In each of the first three cases, firing is totally appropriate -- and, as the President is the only one who can, of course the President is the one who should. But these cases can't practically be disentangled from the fourth case.

So we need some sort of credible investigation into whatever remains of these charges, however irritating and silly.

ColoComment said...

On the question that some ask about the timing of the Comey firing: there would never be a good time, as this purported investigation into Russian connections with the Trump campaign is cloaked in obscurity, aspersion, and insinuation, and will never be resolved as it serves the opposition's goal of casting doubt on Trump and his administration's validity and integrity.

Everything, every thing, goes back to Hillary and her email server set up and her communications of classified information. The Dems want to divert attention toward anything but that original issue.

And it was Comey's FBI investigation of Hillary's email transgressions that was bungled.
I lifted this comment verbatim from a post at neo-neocon because I was too lazy to recap it myself:
Snow on Pine Says:
May 10th, 2017 at 12:11 am
If you read the very clearly written Espionage Act, and other relevant statutes dealing with the handling of classified information, under which Hillary would have been prosecuted for having a non-government, private, unsecured, home brew server on her property, and using it to receive, store, and retransmit classified information to those not cleared to receive such classified information, you will see that the only element of the crime required for prosecution under these statutes is “gross negligence,” and that nowhere in these statutes is there a requirement to also find another element to the crime i.e. to find ”intent”; whatever your intent, acting with gross negligence is itself wholly sufficient to justify prosecution.

Nonetheless, last July, in his famous press conference, Comey deliberately rewrote and misquoted these statutes, to require not only gross negligence but also “intent,” which he then went on to say the FBI was not able to find in this case, thus blocking any prosecution of Hillary.

Later on, as further information dribbled out, it was reported that, in an unheard of violation of standard procedure, no grand jury was impaneled to investigate this matter, which meant that no subpoenas could be issued for the production of evidence, and no testimony could be compelled from witnesses.

With no subpoena power, deals were reportedly made with suspects to gain limited access to some evidence on their laptops, which the FBI agreed, in another unprecedented action, were then to be destroyed.

Hillary’s staff members [Me: Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, all had the same attorney - who prepped each one of them. They didn't need to coordinate their testimonies themselves, they had a "bridge person."], who were also themselves suspects and under investigation in this matter, were also allowed to sit in as lawyers representing suspect Hillary in her one voluntary interview, which was not even conducted under oath, etc., etc. [Me: remember the surprise at finding out that Hillary's "interview" had no transcript, nor was video'd? Remember the lack of obvious follow up questions from Hillary's interviewers? -- clearly a bogus "interview."]

In other words, this was a sham “investigation,” one deliberately hamstrung and structured so that Hillary—no matter what clear violations of the law she might have committed—would never have any chance of being prosecuted.

And that was just one thing that Comey and his FBI did, there were many others."

Me again: And the whole Russian thing is a red herring perpetuated by the anti-Trump crowd because they'll throw any and all obstacles against his administration just for the trouble it causes.

Texan99 said...

Grateful as I was for Comey's information about Hillary Clinton's behavior, there really wasn't any excuse for first deciding not to pursue charges against her for it--not because it wasn't actionable, but because he judged it was inappropriate to prosecute a presidential candidate in the absence of intent--and then deciding to publicize what the investigation showed was wrong with what she'd done. If it doesn't rise to the level of pursuing charges, it doesn't rise to the level of publication.

I do give Comey some credit for publicizing it directly instead of arranging for it to be leaked.

It's hilarious watching all these people complain about the firing of the guy they've been agitating to fire for months. Does anyone doubt for one second that Clinton would have fired him if she'd won the election, or that all the people now complaining would have been totally OK with that?

Eric Blair said...

Scott Adams is of the opinion that Comey's disclosure (as Tex points out) of Hillary's behavior was basically a case of "Here's what she did, you all (the American people) decide to vote for her or not".

If Clinton had won, it's not like Comey would have kept his job either.

Grim said...

That's what I think too. He made himself a kingmaker. That's a damned uncomfortable position to be in, because no king wants to remember what he owes you.

Cassandra said...

Tex nailed it, and wrt to Scott Adams' analysis, that's exactly why he needed to go.

When people get the impression (due to your own actions) that the FBI is involving itself in politics and selectively following the law, that's poisonous. And both parties have accused him of this.

Hillary would have fired this guy immediately.

I have enormous sympathy for Comey. I think he was put in an impossible position, and frequently people in impossible positions get overwhelmed and lose their way. I suspect things will come out about this later that will make everything clearer, but the bottom line for me is that you can't go on national TV and say someone violated the law, but your personal opinion is that you don't think they *meant* to (when intent is NOT an element of the statutory definition) so you're going to give them a pass.

What kind of message does that send to the people you work for (the American people?).

And to ColoComment's point, there would never be a "good time" to fire Comey. This moronic investigation will go on for years, with or without Comey.

Cassandra said...

Apparently Comey had also just requested a major increase in funding for the Russia investigation, too: from the same guy who wrote the letter calling for him to be fired.

And yet the DoJ spokestwit says that never happened.


So it's easy to paint this as tantamount to obstruction of justice by team Trump.

I don't agree - first because the DoJ (who would be the ones to bring such charges) deny the request was ever made in the first place.

And second because firing Comey is within the course and scope of the President's normal duties. As Comey himself has already said, he doesn't need a reason. The only way to "prove" obstruction beyond a reasonable doubt would be...

... well, there really isn't any way to do that. But no doubt some idiot judge will try to use something Trump said on Twitter or during the campaign to infer a motive.

If I thought there was anything here I would be screaming at the top of my lungs for justice. But there just isn't anything here (at least yet).

Grim said...

The only way to "prove" obstruction beyond a reasonable doubt would be... ... well, there really isn't any way to do that.

I raised the objection to a left-leaning friend, yesterday, that you can't really impeach someone for doing something that's perfectly legal. Her response was, "Sure you can. Impeachment is a political act."

Grim said...

This legal analysis seems to feel the same way: there's no way to prove this in court, so impeachment is the only way to go.

Cassandra said...

Impeachment is not a popularity contest - it's supposed to require a credible accusation that a crime has been committed. Clinton was accused of perjury and obstruction of justice. Johnson of violating the Tenure of Office act. What crime are they going to accuse Trump of?

from your link:

Both articles alleged false statements by the president, concealing evidence, and counseling witnesses to lie, among other allegations.

Your friend is mistaken in thinking some strong evidence of criminal acts is not required.

Impeachment is analogous to indictment in regular court proceedings; trial by the other house is analogous to the trial before judge and jury in regular courts. Typically, the lower house of the legislature impeaches the official and the upper house conducts the trial.
At the federal level, Article II of the United States Constitution states in Section 4 that "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments

Once you get past the whole 'no evidence of a crime' aspect, there's still the notion that a body with the largest # of Rethugs since the 1920s is somehow going to vote to impeach.

I worry about people who are this ignorant (referring to your friend), Grim :p

Grim said...

She isn't ignorant; it's a part, I think, of that 'living constitution' thing. Sure, the words say "high crimes or misdemeanors," but really all that matters is that Congress votes the right way. If that happens, whatever they elect to call a "high crime" or "misdemeanor" will do.

Unlike a court, which has to prove its case, all you need are enough votes to make it happen. I think she believes that Trump is so awful that, eventually, the Republicans will have to go along with removing him.

Which, you know, is not impossible. Going into 2020 with President Pence rather than President Trump could end up on the agenda, depending on the politics (which, in a way, underlines her point that impeachment is a political process).

Those of us who want the Constitution to mean only (but exactly) what it really says don't see it that way, but that doesn't mean we can't understand the argument. We just reject the argument.

Cassandra said...

Well, I think any argument that depends on, "But... but... THE FEELZ" is stupid.

But then I'm totes judgmental, that way :p

Tom said...

There aren't any rules that force Congress to focus on actual crimes. They are supposed to, but in practice, they can fire the president for anything or nothing.

I think the impeachment of Johnson was political; the Republicans were tired of their Reconstruction laws being vetoed. With Clinton, I don't think the initial charges were politically motivated, although it's hard to say. I do think the Senate Democrats unanimously voted no on removal because he was a popular Democratic president, not because he wasn't guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice.

There is the way it is supposed to work, the way it really does work, and the way it can be made to work, which is the Progressive rule.