Rod Rosenstein wrote an excellent and articulate memorandum explaining the need to fire his direct report, James Comey. Comey had, on several occasions, overstepped his bounds. Most recently, Comey testified under oath to Congress and much of what he said was not true. The FBI, embarrassingly, had to retract his testimony.
The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General recommended Comey be fired. They cited Comey’s several missteps, the bipartisan complaints about him, and the recent testimony. President Trump fired him.
Vice President Pence and the entire White House apparatus swung into defense to defend the decision. The decision was made with consideration and consultation and was not made lightly.
The press ran with a report that Rod Rosenstein was angry at being made the man responsible. The press said Rosenstein was going to quit as a result. Turns out that was not true.
The press ran with a report that James Comey had asked for additional funds for the FBI’s investigation into Russia shortly before his firing. That was not true either.
The press ran with a report that Rod Rosenstein asked for and was granted an emergency meeting with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Turns out the meeting was scheduled prior to Comey’s firing.
Everything made sense and was justified, despite the partisan outrage. It was defensible, even if the timing looked bad.
But God help us all, the President felt overshadowed. He was subservient to checks, balances, systems, and recommendations. So what did the President do? He lashed out and said he’d made up his mind to fire James Comey even before the Department of Justice recommendation. On top of that, he said he would have fired Comey regardless of Justice’s recommendation.
In one short interview, the President made liars of every single person who mounted a credible defense of the decision — a decision that remains defensible.
But the decision is not defensible if the President did it just because Comey wasn’t loyal to him personally. The decision was not defensible if the President did it because he felt personally offended by the FBI Director.
The President’s behavior is juvenile and asinine. He undermines his Vice President, his communications team, and the very foundational reasons for firing Comey. He can’t help but make it about himself and in so doing he undermines his own integrity in the process.
The President needs to shut the hell up. He does himself and those around him absolutely no favors. He has done more harm than good. And the kicker is I think he is lying to boot. Donald Trump has an overwhelming need to make it all about himself. And if he fired Comey based on someone else’s advice, it would not be about him and his brilliant skills.
Our President is an idiot.