The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Politically Questionable

In a way, I feel sorry for James Comey, the past Director of the FBI who yesterday was summarily fired by Donald Trump. Comey appears to have been a decent and ethical man who was put in an untenable situation by a Loretta Lynch, Barack Obama's Attorney General. Lynch met surreptitiously with Bill Clinton, the husband of a woman who was under FBI investigation. After recusing herself from the Clinton email investigation, Comey thought he was the guy who had to step forward to communicate with the public. In so doing, he exceeded his role, infuriated both Dems by (correctly) castigating Clinton for wrong doing, and then infuriating the GOP by not referring her case for criminal prosecution. This occurring under the cloud of a bitter presidential campaign.

If Barack Obama was a better, more competent president he would have fired Loretta Lynch immediately and replaced her with someone within DoJ who could properly communicate with the public. Instead, it appears that Obama allowed Comey to be a fall guy.

The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
President Trump fired James Comey late Tuesday, and better now than never. These columns opposed Mr. Comey’s nomination by Barack Obama, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director has committed more than enough mistakes in the last year to be dismissed for cause.

Mr. Trump sacked Mr. Comey on the advice of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a former U.S. Attorney with a straight-up-the-middle reputation who was only recently confirmed by the Senate. In a memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Mr. Rosenstein cited Mr. Comey’s multiple breaches of Justice Department protocol in his criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material.

The FBI isn’t supposed even to confirm or deny ongoing investigations, but in July 2016 Mr. Comey publicly exonerated Mrs. Clinton in the probe of her private email server on his own legal judgment and political afflatus. That should have been the AG’s responsibility, and Loretta Lynch had never recused herself.

“It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement,” Mr. Rosenstein wrote. “The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.”

Mr. Rosenstein added that at his July 5 press appearance Mr. Comey “laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”

Then, 11 days before the election, Mr. Comey told Congress he had reopened the inquiry. His public appearances since have become a self-exoneration tour to defend his job and political standing, not least to Democrats who blame a “Comey effect” for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat. Last week Mr. Comey dropped more innuendo about the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia in testimony to Congress, while also exaggerating the new evidence that led his agents to reopen the Clinton file.

For all of these reasons and more, we advised Mr. Trump to sack Mr. Comey immediately upon taking office. The President will now pay a larger political price for waiting, as critics question the timing of his action amid the FBI’s probe of his campaign’s alleged Russia ties. Democrats are already portraying Mr. Comey as a liberal martyr, though last October they accused him of partisan betrayal.
Predictably, the trained hamsters in the media took no time to accuse Trump of Nixonian maneuvers immediately after the firing. But what else is new?

Sadly, accusations of Russian collusion don't need to be fact-based (and they are not). The Democrat base clings to this fantasy in order to somehow justify the party's stunning loss to a man whom they despise. They now have still another incident to use as justification for their unhinged accusations of collusion and "cover-up. For that reason alone, Trump's move in firing Comey was politically questionable.


Chris Stirewalt gets it just about right when he criticizes Donald Trump's handling of the Comey firing. He writes:
One thing that is not in doubt is that the managerial and leadership efforts on display [by Trump] in the past day were dreadful:

- The letter Trump sent undercutting his own rationale for firing Comey by mentioning the Russia probe.

- The comically bad timing of firing Comey the evening before Trump was to meet with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the U.S.

- The lack of coherent message or available messengers after the news broke.

- The failure to adequately brief senior Republicans and members of key committees about the move.

- And, maybe most of all, the petty, vengeful-seeming way in which Comey was notified.

Again, Trump had every right and reason to cashier Comey. Even if doing so was in contradiction to Trump’s prior praise to the celebrity-law man for having hobbled Clinton’s presidency, it was still within bounds.
In this case, the clown show is the Trump administration.