President Donald Trump has a Comey problem, and it is a problem of his making. At the very least he is responsible for making it worse.
When it came to firing James Comey, I reported what the White House had to say about it. I stated on social media that Comey’s firing was a long time in coming and that it should not have been a surprise.
His communications team created a narrative that was helpful had President Trump stuck with it, but he did not.
He contradicts his press team at his first opportunity in an interview with Lester Holt.
The New York Times then published a story that during a one-on-meeting President Trump asked for FBI Director James Comey’s loyalty. Comey said that he could not support the President that way.
The New York Times piece is just another story based on an anonymous source, but that did not stop him from tweeting.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
President Trump makes it very hard to believe that Comey’s firing had nothing to do with Russia. Before, I thought it was plausible, but now I seriously doubt it. Threatening Comey on Twitter does not look good and is below the office of the President.
Then the Washington Post publishes a story that he gave the Russian foreign minister and ambassador classified information during their visit to the White House. The story is based solely on anonymous sources.
His National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, who was present at that meeting said: “The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”
“During President Trump’s meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, a broad range of subjects were discussed among which were common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism. During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Monday evening at the White House.
I do not think President Trump meeting with Russians the week after firing Comey looks good. The story, however, was just based on anonymous sources. Because of this, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
— Shane Vander Hart (@shanevanderhart) May 16, 2017
Of course, the biggest news is a story originally reported in the New York Times about a memo that Comey wrote stating that Trump was pressuring him to end the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s former National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn (US Army-Ret.). The New York Times do not have a copy of the memo. They said their sources inside the FBI read excerpts of the memo.
I do wonder why Comey didn’t mention this to Congress when testifying or resign in protest. Why are we hearing about this now after he has been fired?
It is easy to find out if it exists and, thankfully, Congress is doing just that.
U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have called on the FBI to release all memos relating to former FBI Director Comey’s interactions with his superiors in both the Trump and Obama administrations. They also called on the White House to provide records of interactions with former Director Comey, including any audio recordings.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chair of the House Oversight Committee, also asked the FBI for the memo.
This memo, if it exists, could spell trouble for the Trump Administration. If it doesn’t exits it is gross misconduct on the part of the press.
Fortunately the U.S. Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the Russia investigation. This is a welcome development as far as I am concerned.
“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had earlier agreed to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his involvement with the Trump campaign.
“Each year, the career professionals of the U.S. Department of Justice conduct tens of thousands of criminal investigations and handle countless other matters without regard to partisan political considerations. I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result,” Rosenstein added.
Mueller has bipartisan respect and I believe will conduct a throurough and fair investigation.
Trump’s official statement was somewhat measured.
“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country,” Trump said.
Trump’s Twitter account betrays his real feelings.
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
I’m not exactly sure how you measure that, but I’m doubtful that is true. Even so, let the investigation go unhindered. Let it be throrough. If Mueller comes to the conclusion there was no misconduct on the part of the Trump campaign great.
Trump also tweeted something that I have seen a lot from Trump supporters:
With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
He’s right there should have been special counsels appointed. The Democrats’ are being hypocritical. Their hypocrisy doesn’t override the need for an investigation. Republicans can demonstrate here that the rule of law is bigger than party or president. Let the facts speak for themselves, and then Republicans need to be prepared to act on whereever those facts may lead.