Friday, 12 May 2017

Blowing the lid

Comey’s dismissal is likely to raise questions about whether the White House is interfering in that investigation. In a letter from Trump informing Comey of his firing, the president suggested Comey had privately assured Trump he was not being scrutinized. “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Trump said.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News Tuesday night that Comey’s firing wouldn’t affect the Russia investigations by either Congress or the FBI. “But I think the bigger point on that is, when are they going to let that go?” she then added. “It's been going on for nearly a year. Frankly, it's kind of getting absurd. There's nothing there.” 
If Comey wasn’t about to blow the lid off of something — and the White House had the luxury of time — its handling of the firing is astounding in its incompetence. The administration’s official narrative is that this decision came from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein assumed his post only two weeks ago, and so his arrival on the scene helps explain the otherwise baffling timing of Comey’s firing. The idea being: This Rosenstein guy showed up and made an impassioned case for Comey’s mishandling of the Clinton email case, and Trump yielded to his judgment.
A competent White House would have put Rosenstein front and center; leaked the memo days before the final decision; kept the president at a distance from the whole affair; and given Comey the opportunity to resign.
Instead, Trump mentioned the Russia investigation in the second paragraph of his letter to Comey; had his surrogates call for an end to the Russia investigation last night (instead of keeping the focus on Rosenstein’s indictment of Comey); tweeted incendiary attacks on various Democrats; and let Comey learn of his firing from a row of televisions, as he gave a speech in Los Angeles.
Is it really better to have a president that didn’t collude with Russia — but is so intolerant of hostile media coverage, so incompetent, and so unable to anticipate the consequences of his actions that he would have fired Comey in this manner, anyway?
More to the point: Is it acceptable for the United States to have such a president? 

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