An open letter to President Trump regarding the firing of FBI director James Comey

Photo: Anthony Moretti 19Jan2017

Dear Mr. President,

What the he** were you thinking?

You fired the FBI director on Tuesday afternoon because…why? As one newspaper suggested late today, it sure does look like you were motivated by “self-preservation, fear or spite.”

That’s not good.

Do you not understand that unless the conduct of the FBI director is tantamount to dereliction of duty that you cannot dismiss this person? Do you not understand that your decision today smacks of what President Nixon wanted to do more than 40 years ago? Nixon wanted everyone to quit poking around and asking questions about the robbery at the Watergate Hotel; you appear to want the FBI to stop looking into what the Russians might have done to help get you elected.

As it dissected what you’ve done, the New York Times — which you insist is one of those bastions of fake news — put it this way:

Ever since Watergate, presidents have been reluctant to take on F.B.I. directors, no matter how frustrated they were. The only exception was President Bill Clinton, who fired William S. Sessions in 1993 after ethical issues were raised against Mr. Sessions, and was accused of acting politically. The successor he appointed, Louis J. Freeh, became even more of a headache for Mr. Clinton as he helped independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr investigate the president. But Mr. Clinton never risked the political backlash that would have come had he dismissed Mr. Freeh.

The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg admits he’s not comfortable comparing what you did to what Nixon did, but Goldberg is not in your corner.

I simply don’t buy the case made in the letter from President Trump. I am very skeptical that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the chief driver of, or lobbyist for, this decision.

Your letter to Comey, who had been on the job for about four years, does give you a wonderful opportunity to throw the attorney general under the bus, should the heat from this decision get too high. You cleverly assert that his information led you to dismiss Comey.

That strategy could come back to haunt you. Top Republicans already are making clear they’re not at all in favor of what you’ve done.

Comey alienated Democrats and Republicans over the past year. He seemed at times to contort himself into a pretzel as he described what his office was doing as it investigated Hillary Clinton’s emails and your links to Russia.

But Comey was not being derelict in his duty.

You, sir, are too often inching too close to, and perhaps over, that line.

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