Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What Trump Did Today makes a general editorial practice of limiting ourselves to highlighting one thing Trump does in any given day. (We'd be happy to report on zero things, but so far there's never been a reason to skip a day.) We have that limit as a sanity-preserving measure, both for our readers and ourselves.

Sometimes we're overtaken by events--like today. 

What else did Donald Trump do today?

He fired the Director of the FBI, after having told his staff to go find an excuse to fire the Director of the FBI.

Comey was leading the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into the Russia's election interference and its possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign. In his letter to Comey, Trump said he was acting on the recommendation of Attorney General Jefferson Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. But Rosenstein and Sessions were acting on Trump's orders in generating these recommendations, according to senior White House officials cited by the New York Times.  

Both letters were dated today. Rosenstein's letter cited mistakes Comey had made last year in his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server--ironically, mistakes that benefited Trump and were praised by him. Rosenstein was confirmed in his present position two weeks ago today. Sessions had supposedly recused himself from matters relating to the Russia investigation, although if he were actually recused, he presumably would not be involved in the firing of the leader of that investigation.

In his letter to Comey, Trump made a point of claiming that Comey had already personally exonerated him three times, a scenario that Comey's colleagues described as "farcical." As a matter of law and protocol, Comey could never have made such a statement himself publicly, and indeed refused to answer a direct question about whether Trump was a target of his investigation during a Congressional hearing in March.

Why would a normal person care about this?

  • It is simply impossible to believe that Donald Trump is firing the chief law enforcement officer investigating his campaign's collusion with Russia because the FBI Director was unfair to Hillary Clinton.
  • It is indeed bizarre for a president to use the person he is firing to declare himself innocent of the matter that person was investigating.