11 May 2017
A threat to the republic?
The hysteria over the firing of FBI director Comey continues. "Let’s stipulate that James Comey was a flawed FBI director, and that his actions during last year’s presidential race cast a cloud over the integrity of his agency," writes an editor in today's Albany Times Union, "That does not negate the fact that President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of him is, in fact, far more troubling than Mr. Comey’s own missteps. The firing, in this writer's opinion, "is a crisis, and the future of American democracy may be at stake." In other words, it's the moment everyone -- well, a lot of people -- have been waiting for since Trump was elected. The editorial writer certainly doesn't minimize the stakes: "If this president is allowed to fire an FBI director when he finds an investigation politically threatening — a probe exploring the possibility of treasonous conduct — and if the House and Senate fail to respond, the Constitution’s check on executive power and the balance provided by our tripartite system of government will be rendered meaningless." The crisis, apparently, is a matter of timing. By now you've all probably heard the argument that since Trump could have fired Comey at any time after his inauguration, we must ask why he acted now, the only answer available, apparently, being that Comey was getting too close to the President's Russia connection. This argument is just a little disingenuous. It fails to acknowledge that Trump would have been criticized for firing Comey at any point in his presidency, and for the same reason. Since his ties to Russia have been an object of scrutiny, and of interest to Comey, since the 2016 campaign, Trump could never move against Comey without it looking like he wanted to suppress a necessary and proper investigation. There are, in fact, signs that the President had grown exasperated with the inquiries and Comey's involvement with them, but an innocent man might be just as exasperated with such inquiries, especially if he had reason to see them as politically motivated, as a man with something to hide. You might say that a man with nothing to hide should not have been exasperated, but does that sound like Donald Trump to you? In any event, I can't take this crisis as seriously as some want me to because I've never taken the whole Russia connection concept as seriously as many do. Let those who do take it seriously show me how Russia is currently dictating American foreign policy. I would have thought that Trump's Syrian shenanigans would have ended this issue, but it hasn't ended because many influential people don't want it to end. And if this is a crisis it's because those people want one. Make no mistake; I think Donald Trump perfectly capable of forcing a crisis through his own malice or stupidity, but what we see right now is boys crying "Wolf!" I hope that doesn't have the usual result when Trump really does something wrong.