The Trump administration’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey created quite a stir in Washington—but what happens in the weeks ahead is far more important than the termination.
There’s no question that Comey’s politicization of his post was out of hand. But, given the tumult of the 2016 presidential election and the accusation-hurling it elicited from all sides, the director could have avoided being used as a political pawn only by refusing to direct the FBI at all.
And certainly the FBI’s involvement in political investigations took away from its ability to do other things.
But again, lawmakers and American citizens on both sides of the aisle repeatedly demanded that Comey launch investigations that would have political implications.
After Comey announced just ahead of the election that his agency found Hillary Clinton indeed mishandled sensitive government documents, Democrats wanted his head on a platter.
Clinton blamed her defeat on the FBI chief.
Trump, after the election, suggested that he no longer had any intention of pursuing a broader investigation into Clinton’s misdeeds.
As I wrote last November:
During the presidential election, Donald Trump said that he intended to make certain that Hillary Clinton would be prosecuted for her email mistakes. The president-elect has now softened his tone— and some supporters aren’t happy.
Trump reportedly told reporters at The New York Times that he doesn’t want to do anything to “hurt the Clintons.”
“She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways,” Trump said.
He later reportedly added that prosecuting Clinton is “just not something that I feel very strongly about.”
The president-elect’s softened stance has surprised many supporters who believed the election as much a victory for Trump as it was a referendum on the Clinton family’s longtime abuse of the political system for personal gain.
Fair enough, I guess. Although, Trump did promise voters that his administration would have Clinton fitted for jailhouse stripes on day one.
Curiously, the president is now saying that he fired Comey on the advice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made the recommendation on the advice of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein wanted Comey canned because of the press conference Clinton blamed for killing her campaign.
As The Los Angeles Times reported:
Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he had no choice but to disclose the re-opened investigation and not “conceal” it. Rosenstein sharply disagreed.
Prosecutors don’t disclose non-public information about investigations, he wrote: “Silence is not concealement.”
Given Comey’s actions and his refusal to admit that they were mistakes, “the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them,” Rosenstein wrote.
Sessions, in a letter to Trump, said that he was recommending Comey’s dismissal “for the reasons expressed” by the deputy attorney general and in order for the department to “clearly reaffirm its commitment to longstanding principles” of proper conduct by investigators.
Trump, in a letter to Comey informing him of his dismissal, said he had accepted the recommendation. He added that he “greatly appreciate[d] you informing me on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.”
Rosenstein also complained that the “goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference.”
As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein gets to oversee the FBI’s investigation into whether there is any merit at all to Democrat claims that Trump officials had unbecoming ties to Russian operatives—or if Trump, his family, his businesses, etc. wheeling and dealing with Russia for personal gain— ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Prior to his firing, Comey was making moves within the FBI that suggested his investigation into the matter was about to heat up.
Whether you believe Democrat claims about Russia or not, that investigation ought to happen.
But Rosenstein, it turns out, isn’t the kind of guy who is comfortable seeing very powerful people get taken down for selling out Americans for personal gain—just ask Hillary Clinton.
In 1995, Rosenstein served on the team of investigators that ultimately cleared Bill and Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing in the Whitewater affair. Later, Rosenstein served as a special prosecutor in a case involving whether the Clinton administration had improperly used FBI background reports. Nothing ever came of the inquiry, though Rosenstein did sit with Mrs. Clinton for a chat at the White House in January 1998.
The whole situation, given President Trump’s “drain the swamp” talk, feels like the entire population is being trolled.
Nothing ever happened with Clinton, nothing ever will. The FBI investigation into questions about possible Trump corruption is dead in the water. A guy who’s been in Washington long enough to have been involved in the Whitewater investigation is calling the shots at the DOJ, alongside a former senator who has kept a government job in one form or another for around 40 years.
And, no doubt, Comey’s replacement will be liberty’s worst nightmare.
Meanwhile, many Republican voters continue to refuse that the billionaire reality television star in the Oval Office deserves to be held to the same level of scrutiny from conservatives as President Barack Obama—or, if she’d won, Clinton— because of a bunch of marketing jargon.
For those who can’t yet see through Trump’s veneer, allow me to paint you a little mental picture.
The president on Wednesday was asked by a reporter visiting the Oval Office to comment on the Comey firing.
“He wasn’t doing a good job. Very simple. He was not doing a good job,” the president replied.
Did the president invite the press to the Oval Office to discuss a breakthrough in his big beautiful wall, a meaningful improvement in efforts to replace Obamacare, a budget that will get the U.S. out of debt, or a foreign policy proposal that would get the country out of everyone else’s wars?
Reporters were there for a photo-op of an “honored” President Donald Trump hanging out with globalist war criminal Henry Kissinger.
Maybe Trump is doing the best he can despite insurmountable opposition from within. That’s what many of his apologists are saying, anyway.
If that’s the case, we’re doomed. And if that’s the case, there are a lot of folks who must lose the blinders and realize that there’s a very good chance a big orange Trojan Horse has been sent to Washington to placate you as big government makes us all losers.