What changed Donald Trump’s mind about James Comey?
Until Tuesday, it hadn’t bothered President Trump that Comey likely contributed to his victory when, 11 days prior to the election, he announced the FBI was re-opening its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Until Tuesday, Trump had never mentioned the need for a “fresh start” at the FBI.
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By Wednesday, though, the Trump White House was trying to revise history, saying he intended to fire Comey all along. Well, he had four months to do it.
Fortunately, credible news organizations are reporting various plot lines and connections that might show what caused the President’s sudden change of heart.
The Washington Post and New York Times reported that Comey had requested additional funds from the White House last week to further investigate Trump confidants and former staff and their contacts with Russia. A Justice Department spokeswoman said such a request “did not happen,” but the newspapers cite multiple sources.
CNN and Politico both reported that one of the targets of the FBI’s investigation – Roger Stone – made phone calls over the weekend urging the president to fire Comey. The President denies it, calling it “fake news,” but CNN is sticking by its story; so is Politico.
Whatever President Trump’s justifications for firing Comey, the story is no longer about the FBI director; now it’s about why Trump acted, why he acted now and what comes next.
Some are already talking about impeachment. Others think there might be an even darker agenda. Trump went on Twitter this week to claim Comey was “the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton.” Does this signal he wants to “lock her up”? Does he think such an act will divert attention from his ties to Russia? Or his in-laws selling citizenship to wealthy investors?
This isn’t over, no matter how many feints and deflections the President provides. We deserve better answers than we’ve gotten. And we’ll get them, whether from the administration or those looking into it.
At this point, we have no faith that President Trump will put forth a better FBI director. Whomever this president chooses will – in the eyes of at least half the nation – be compromised. What deal did he or she make to get the job?
Before the Senate confirms anyone, we must know the investigations into Russia’s connections to the Trump campaign and White House will continue. The only way to be certain that happens is through the appointment of a special prosecutor.
If the Republicans don’t have the guts to do it, the American people must insist. If that means more marches, more demonstrations, more confrontations at town halls or in the halls of Congress, that is what we must do.
In the meantime, journalists will continue doing what they do. There’s no way they will be bullied by this president or any other. Donald Trump can fire the FBI director, but he can’t fire a free press.