Update: In the midst of writing this column, the Washington Post reported that more than 30 White House officials claim that Trump fired Comey over the president's "brewing personal animus" towards the FBI director, and not for reasons listed in the official narrative. The shit is hitting the fan, folks.
Unless you've been in a blissful coma for the past 24 hours then you're probably aware that Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday. The same James Comey who was currently investigating the president's alleged connections to Russia, which have so far taken scalps from Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Devin Nunes, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Though, oddly, Sessions has somehow been advising the president on firing Comey, which many view as a pretty damn clear violation of Sessions' recusal. And that's only the tip of this bullshit iceberg.
While the administration's official story is that the president suddenly became concerned with how Comey handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, which naturally Trump supporters are gobbling up because America is a hellscape of dumb, even the most casual observer knows that excuse doesn't pass the smell test. And according to Jake Tapper, there were two specific reasons for firing Comey that significantly differ from the White House's version of events, and I'm pretty sure you can guess what one of them is.
- Comey never provided the President with any assurance of personal loyalty.
- The fact that the FBI's investigation into possible Trump team collusion with Russia in the 2016 election was accelerating.
"Assurance of personal loyalty." Jesus fucking Christ.
Unfortunately, fealty to the president is a recurring theme with Trump supporters, which is ironic because of how many years conservatives spent accusing Obama of acting like a king. So just to set the record straight, nobody from James Comey to Sally Yates to shitty little Devin Nunes works for the president. They work for the goddamn American people.
In the meantime, while we're shooting down the White House's horseshit announcement, The Wall Street Journal - by no means a liberal rag or #FakeNews - quotes several FBI sources who say that James Comey never told Trump that he wasn't under investigation. (Emphasis mine.)
Mr. Comey’s associates also denied the claim made by Mr. Trump, in his letter firing Mr. Comey, that the director told him on three occasions that he wasn’t under investigation. They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations. “That is literally farcical,” said one associate.
Of course, the big question in the light of this latest debacle (that will almost definitely be replaced by an even shinier and more ridiculous debacle at any second) is when the fuck is Trump finally going to go down for all of this? Will Russia eventually be tied around his orange, bullfrog, waddle-pouch of a neck as he hauled out of office? According to national security expert John Schindler, yes. Yes, it will.
From an interview with the Lennart Meri Conference:
KremlinGate has done considerable damage to American politics and society. It has exacerbated already serious ideological divisions in the United States. It has made our coarse politics much coarser. Most serious is the manner how candidate, now President Trump ritually denounces any criticism of himself and his administration as “FAKE NEWS.” This is frankly a Putinesque tactic which is corrosive of democratic values. A free press is the cornerstone of American democracy, and Trump clearly hates that.
Historian Timothy Snyder said in February that Americans have up to a year to save US democracy from autocratic-leaning president Trump´s corrupt influence. Do you agree with his assessment and how are the checks and balances in the US system working to constrain him?
I am not quite as pessimistic as Professor Snyder, although I am not expecting things in my country to improve quickly. Trump’s downfall is coming, thanks to his blatant ties to the Kremlin, which the FBI is investigating, and that process will lead to a large-scale political cleansing in Washington which will be traumatic yet necessary. Trump’s effort to force his will on Congress and the courts is failing already. His popularity with the public is simply insufficient to allow the sort of crackdown on civil society which Trump wants.
And Schindler comes bearing more good news. The Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has been assisting the FBI's investigation.
Think how Al Capone was eventually brought down, but he somehow ran for president and won before getting caught.
What the hell did you do, America?