Last night, our unhinged president fired the head of the F.B.I., James Comey, allegedly for his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, something Trump had often praised Comey about even in the very recent past. Is there anyone who actually believes this nonsense?
Comey is currently leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russian hackers, and everyone understands that the reason he was fired was to put a chill on that investigation.
It’s pretty funny that Trump was “acting on the advice” of the Justice Department, i.e. on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of the very Trump Campaign people who apparently colluded with the Russians (and then lied about it under oath). You may not remember that connection, because the whole “Obama tapped my wires” thing blew it right off the internet, and therefore off of all other news sources, as well.
The best part is the short letter Trump sent to Comey telling him he was gone. It contains just three paragraphs, the second of which is truly bizarre:
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.
Anyway, the entire world immediately saw the parallel here to the Saturday Night Massacre, in which Richard Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was leading the Watergate investigation. This led to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on October 20, 1973. This was the turning point for the Nixon Presidency and he resigned from office some months later, when he saw his impeachment was certain.
The hashtag #TuesdayNightMassacre blew up on social media with many people exulting that this was certainly the beginning of the end for the man-baby, and that, like Nixon, he would ultimately be on the road to impeachment.
Not so fast, kids.
There is a huge difference between the Saturday Night Massacre and the Tuesday Night Massacre, and it is one that means Trump will not be impeached. Not until after 2018, anyway. At the time of the Cox firing, the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives.
Impeachment happens only if a simple majority of the House votes for “Articles of Impeachment”. And then a two-thirds majority of the Senate must vote for impeachment, after hearings presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. All of these offices are controlled by Republicans, and all their constituencies love Trump.
A second somewhat less important difference is that, back then, there were also a handful of Republicans who understood that our country and the rule of law are, in fact, more important that partisan politics. That’s not the case today. Virtually every Republican congressman who was asked about the firing last night, said something like it was “time for a change” or “the F.B.I. head serves at the pleasure of the President.”
Even the ones that have in the past demonstrated some independence, like Maine’s Senator Susan Collins, who said,
“The Justice Department was really understaffed for a long time, it took a while for the attorney general to be confirmed and his deputy was just confirmed I believe a week or so ago, and it’s the deputy who is a career prosecutor who had been designated to do the analysis so the FBI director’s actions and came up with the recommendation.
“The president did not fire the entire FBI. He fired the director of the FBI. And any suggestion that this is somehow going to stop the FBI’s investigation of the attempts by the Russians to influence the elections last fall is really patently absurd. This is just one person, it’s the director, the investigation is going forward both at the FBI and in the Senate Intel Committee in a bipartisan way. SO I don’t think there’s any link at all.”
But, on the bright side, assuming there is anything left to salvage of our government two years from now, and assuming Democrats can regain the House, Trump’s impeachment is now inevitable. Big assumptions.
The mid-term elections are more important now than ever before. I hope all the Bernie voters and Jill Stein voters can grasp all this and do the right thing.