While the Democrats and media suggest that President Trump fired FBI director James Comey in order to somehow stymie an investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump team in the 2016 campaign, the more plausible theory was far less damning to Trump. I theorized on Wednesday that this was all an elaborate set-up for a bank heist. But that’s not the theory to which I’m referring. Here’s the actual theory:
Trump fired Comey because he was angry Comey was allowing the Russia investigation to drag along, and used Comey’s ridiculous Congressional testimony as a pretext for firing him. Under this theory, Trump isn’t necessarily guilty of collusion with Russia — at least not knowingly — and he’s merely ticked off that Comey appeared to be dragging his feet while refusing to state openly that he had no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
Essentially, Trump believes that he had nothing to do with Russia; even if his former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and former campaign manager Paul Manafort had corrupt ties with the Kremlin, Trump doesn’t understand why that would implicate him personally, since he has never linked his fate with that of his subordinates. Trump was shocked and appalled that Comey wouldn’t simply come out and exonerate him, when he knew that Comey had no evidence of Trump’s direct involvement in anything; he was even more angry that Comey appeared to be fanning the conspiracy theory flames, even though Comey wouldn’t help him out with a bit of doubletalk on Obama administration wiretapping and leaks. So he fired him. Unfortunately, when you fire someone because they’re failing to clear you in a timely manner, it looks as though you’re firing them because they refuse to clear you at all. Thus the scandal.
All of which could have been avoided through some professional discretion. Trump could have dumped Comey ceremoniously, coordinated with his team, and ensured a suitable replacement was at hand. Instead, he decided he wanted Comey gone, told the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to write up a memo saying why Comey had to go — a hook upon which to hang Trump’s hat — and then wrote his own letter basically admitting that he was firing Comey because Comey wouldn’t publicly exonerate him.
Here’s The Washington Post reporting:
Trump had long questioned Comey’s loyalty and judgment, and was infuriated by what he viewed as the director’s lack of action in recent weeks on leaks from within the federal government. By last weekend, he had made up his mind: Comey had to go… The president already had decided to fire Comey, according to this person. But in the meeting, several White House officials said Trump gave Sessions and Rosenstein a directive: to explain in writing the case against Comey… The president already had decided to fire Comey, according to this person. But in the meeting, several White House officials said Trump gave Sessions and Rosenstein a directive: to explain in writing the case against Comey.
Trump is used to running a business. In business, the CEO is the dictator. He can fire people without blowback. If employees — people who serve at the pleasure of the president — cross him, the CEO can simply drop Trump’s signature line: “You’re fired.” But as president, the job is a bit different. You can fire James Comey, but you’re likely to hear some outcry if the firing is perceived to be politically-motivated.
That’s what likely happened here.
Democrats have no evidence to suggest that Trump is shutting down the Russia investigation, although Trump would obviously like to do so — and he’d certainly like to expedite the process by which he can be cleared, so that the cloud hanging over his administration can dissipate. Unfortunately, with his rash and incompetent action here, he’s damned himself to months more of speculation at the very least… and if Flynn and Manafort end up in the dock, he may have done himself far more damage than that. This is just one problem with a knee-jerk reactionary with volatile emotional issues at the head of the executive branch — even if he isn’t in thrall to the Russians, his inability to see any perspective outside his own leads him to jump on a landmine he planted himself.