Trumps decision to fire James Comey stunned Washington, upset the bureau, and brought Russia back into focus. How much more can Republican take?
Ill met by moonlight, a dozen reporters and cameramen peered into the darkness. Where was Sean Spicer ? The press secretary had given a Tv interview at 9pm then disappeared behind an awning, apparently conferring with colleagues. Journalists waited on the drive. The White House glowed behind them. This is so weird, one said. Its like hunting a puppy and then killing it.
A couple of minutes later Spicer emerged on a route operating along a fence and hedgerow. He was caught in a blinding illuminate and asked the cameramen to turn it off. Relax, enjoy the night, have a glass of wine, he said jocularly. Spicer then spent 12 minutes trying to explain why Donald Trump had taken the most explosive the actions of his young presidency: axing the director of the FBI.
But the rationale that Spicer presented that Trump had been acting on the recommendation contained in the us attorney general and his deputy was shredded by the president himself two days later. He had already decided that James Comey must go regardless of the recommendation , Trump said, because he was a grandstander and a showboat.
The man who sealed his reputation by telling reality Tv demonstrate contestants Youre fired! had now done it to Americas top law enforcement official, creating a public relations misfortune. Comey was only the second FBI director to be dismissed. Not since Richard Nixon had a US president fired the person resulting an investigation bearing on himself.
That investigation is investigating Russian interference in last few years election with potential Trump campaign collusion. The removal of Comey inspired accusations of a cover-up, warnings of a constitutional crisis, and comparisons with the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down. The chairperson fuelled the flame by indicating he had videotapes of his conversations with the FBI director.
Even for Trump, the inveterate rule-breaker, it was outrageous new province. It inspired anew the issues to: just how much is the Republican party able and willing to tolerate? With an acceptance rating of 35%, hes a liability in the 2018 elections , not an asset, said Rick Tyler, the former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, a rival of Trump in the party primaries. At some point theyre going to have to tell the president: shape up or ship out.
Less than a week earlier, Trump had welcomed dozens of Republican House members to the Rose Garden at the White House to celebrate the passage of a healthcare bill. It seemed to be a moment of respite, of getting on track, of building peace with the party. Hey, Im president! Trump said. Can you believe it?
There was no hint of what was to come. Contrary to Spicers rationale, Trump had decided Comeys fate long ago. He was, according to multiple US media reports, raged by the FBIs directors dogged pursuing of the Russia investigation, ease in the media spotlight( FBI directors are supposed to keep a low profile ), insouciance when it came to White House leaks and failure to back the presidents accusation of wiretapping against Barack Obama.
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