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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Thoughts on firing FBI Director Comey

With all the bloviating about Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey it’s difficult to say something that others have not already said. But perhaps I can put it in my own way.

Comey was an ambivalent figure. The primary attribute I saw of him was the concept he had of his personal rectitude. Unfortunately some very bad people firmly believe that they are moral paragons. I won’t belabor the issue with examples of monsters who believed this, because Comey was not a monster, he was just badly mistaken.

Some see his press conference in which he listed Hillary’s decision to use a private server for her electronic communication as both an indictment and as a way of allowing the election to go forward because - in the end - he said that she would not be indicted for crimes she obviously committed. Then there’s his research into whether Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to rig the election, an accusation for which there has not been a single fact to support it. Then we hear that Comey’s FBI is not investigating the illegal leaking of classified information to the press; information that was designed to influence the last election and to tarnish the current incumbent. Or to investigate whether the Trump campaign was actually wiretapped – either in the traditional sense or in the modern sense of being subject to scrutiny by the NSA which information was subsequently used by Democrat political operatives.

There can be no question that Comey transgressed the bounds of Top Cop and entered into the extra-constitutional role of Top Prosecutor and Political Decider.

There have been more than enough transgressions of traditional roles in the last few decades; to have the nation top enforcement law agency overstep its proper role is more than troubling. It is deeply disturbing. When there are riots in the streets and the Democrats classify themselves as The Resistance - as if the Trump administration were Nazi occupiers - there is no good end without a crushing defeat of one side or the other. We just hope it won’t be as bloody as the end of World War II.

Richard Fernandez puts it well when he comments on the constitutional crisis enveloping the capitol.

The dismissal has already sparked a huge uproar. Keith Ellison tweeted "we are witnessing a Constitutional crisis unfold before our very eyes." The administration's calculation in firing him must have concluded uproars didn't matter any more, that it was time to begin open and undisguised conflict. Readers will recall the first time I argued that it had become a fight to the finish. Trump wasn't aiming to hold off his opponents. He was aiming to destroy them.

There really isn't much choice when one side is called the Resistance and the other side is presumably incumbent. Electoral democracy was supposed to prevent zero sum games, to guarantee multiple-variable optimization. The polarization of Washington puts all that at risk. But perhaps it was inevitable. The tolerance and apathy of former years, someone observed, were the deceptive last virtues of a dying society. Silence and guarded speech not a peace but whispering in the face of danger.
Truces can end with a shocking suddenness. Whatever Comey's role in recent events was he could not remain out in the wire.

Part of draining the swamp is to keep the people that can put you in jail, and kill you if you get out of line, in check. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, Comey had to go. It remains to be seen how this battle proceeds, but there can be little doubt that it will be a battle to the death.

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