Editor’s Note: by now you will have undoubtedly heard that US swine emperor Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey this past Tuesday and while there are many people (with varying degrees of credibility) attempting to downplay what has just happened here, this is in fact a “big fucking deal.”
The firing of an FBI Director by a President whose government said official is currently investigating is a historic moment in America; books, term papers and reams of analysis will be written about this action and the already chaotic political fallout will likely take weeks if not months to fully resolve itself. We may in fact be witnessing the beginning of the end for the Trump administration and if so, it’s going to take a lot more than one article to properly untangle the emotionally charged propaganda surrounding this ominous event. Furthermore, this could not come at a worse possible time for me as I’ve recently been struggling through a bout of serious insomnia that’s disrupted two other pieces I was working on; one of which directly discusses the disturbing authoritarian trends in recent decisions by Trump’s government and as such relates at least tangentially to the article you’re reading now.
In short, I have a lot of ground to cover here and very little time in which to do it; therefore, I thought I’d start today by cutting away all the rhetoric, conspiracy theories and dissembling on both sides of the Comey firing to lay out the basic skeleton what I believe is a “paint by numbers” coverup orchestrated specifically by the President of the United States and quite possibly against the advice of his own White House. I’m going to open our discussion here because suspect that in the coming weeks or even possibly months, there’s a good chance we’ll be returning to this first basic outline multiple times so you might want to keep a link to this post handy:
“We’re not going to have another Watergate in our lifetime. I’m sure.” – Bob Woodward
Firstly, I’d like to begin by assuring long time readers that I still do not believe in the so called “Russiagate” conspiracy theory in that I don’t believe the Democratic Party or the neoliberal media establishment have come within a hundred miles of proving that either Russia rigged the 2016 election or that Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin’s pawn and frankly, at this point I sincerely doubt they ever will turn up the necessary proof to justify such a wild, geopolitically destabilizing accusation. Furthermore I would like to remind people that I do not think James Comey was a particularly good (or honest) FBI Director and that I too felt that he should have been fired over his conduct during the Hillary Clinton private email server investigation; albeit for entirely different reasons than the hypocritical mainstream liberals who just a few short months ago insisted that Comey should resign for “costing” the Queen of Scheme her expected presidency.
Despite the protestations of sycophant Republicans, the disingenuous intentions of an objectively unhinged White House and thoroughly unconvincing attempts to spin this situation by Trump loyalists in the “conservative” media however, I am certain beyond all reasonable doubt that Comey wasn’t fired for his work on Hillary Clinton’s emails and frankly I believe that in the absence of emotion or partisan rhetoric about Russia, it’s actually not all that hard to see why.
So why was James Comey fired on Tuesday? The answer is fairly simple but proving it takes a little more work; the former FBI director was investigating Donald Trump, or at least associates of the Trump administration and recent developments in that investigation caused an irate Trump to pull the trigger on firing Comey.
The Anatomy of an Execution
Over the course of the past year, I’ve repeatedly maintained that the key to understanding Donald Trump is to accept that what you see is what you get and on most subjects, it’s advisable to take his rhetoric quite literally. I’m not suggesting that Trump doesn’t lie or obfuscate because frankly, he’s a constant bullshitter of the highest order; what I’m saying is that Trump isn’t a particularly good liar and his pathetic attempts to hide his true intentions are typically betrayed by his own arrogant bluster. Like most of the oafish paleoconservatives he shares a political lineage with, the swine emperor just isn’t all that complex and it’s often frighteningly easy to see his real motivations through the constant screen of falsehoods, personal attacks and self-promotion that Trump spews out.
With the above in mind, I contend that Trump’s decision to fire Comey was made very quickly (over the course of about a week) and that there are at most five relevant events you need to know about on the timeline of this coverup:
- On May 3rd, during a senate hearing for the Judiciary Committee, then FBI Director Comey confirmed that he was working with the Eastern District of Virginia’s District Attorney’s office as part of his ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign; what is commonly called the “Russia Probe.”
- In the immediate aftermath of Comey’s testimony, reports indicate that Trump instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to find a reason to fire the FBI Director in discussions that were “confined to the highest levels of the Trump administration.”
- Days before being fired James Comey approached Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and requested more resources to continue the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and possible Russian interference into the presidential election.
- On May 9th, a Trump aide hand delivered a letter to FBI headquarters in Washington from Donald Trump and two supporting letters from the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General officially firing James Comey from his role as FBI director. Please note the curious wording of all three letters and the complete absence of a connection between Comey’s performance in the Clinton investigation and his subsequent termination in the letters by both Trump and Sessions; this will come up again in a minute.
- Later that same day, a CNN exclusive news report revealed that prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia’s District Attorney’s office had issued grand jury subpoenas for business records to associates of Michael Flynn; Trump’s disgraced former National Security advisor. This is significant because it confirms that there is a grand jury investigation underway that involves at a very minimum an extremely sketchy former close advisor to the President with a history of lying to federal authorities.
Are you following this incredibly complex chain of events so far? Please keep in mind that as President of the United States and with the full support of his Attorney General, Trump would have undoubtedly known about each of these events hours, if not days before the general public. Casting aside all the political rhetoric, whataboutisms and our general disdain for the objectively fucking insane Russia probe; these are the five simple events that I believe form the core evidence that Comey was fired both because of, and to obstruct his investigation into the Trump campaign.
With these five points of reference burned into our brains, let’s take a look at the final piece of supporting evidence that I feel makes it absolutely clear that Trump fired his FBI Director for refusing to quash the investigation into his campaign; the letter Trump himself wrote to Comey and more specifically the bizarre second paragraph of that letter:
As I noted earlier, once you’re prepared to stop pretending that Donald Trump is some kind of alien Jedi lying wizard it’s actually pretty damn easy to see the ultimate motivations for almost everything he does. In this case, it seems pretty clear to me that Donny “Tiny Hands” is indicating to Comey that he feels the FBI Director has been dishonest with him about whether or not he’s investigating the president while implying perhaps that Comey is hiding behind semantics to investigate Trump through his associates – the fact that he simply cannot help but include this rebuke in the letter firing Comey not only confirms the reason for the firing but is also completely consistent with reports of Trump’s longstanding behavior towards those he feels have betrayed him.
The Context of Concealment
Of course when a coverup scandal is this ridiculously straightforward, conservative media drones and unabashed Trump lackeys are forced to engage in increasingly absurd mental contortions to justify the swine emperor’s impetuous behavior; taking each event on our above timeline into and out of context as necessary to provide what’s known as “plausible deniability” for the Trump administration. Unfortunately for Trump’s various bootlickers however, when the above events are properly placed in context with the ongoing scandals of the Trump administration as a whole it only becomes all the more clear that the swine emperor has made a rash and potentially fatal error. While I have neither the time nor inclination to apply basic deductive reasoning to every wingnut fantasy offered up in defense of Trump by the likes of Sean Hannity and Breitbart News, I’d like to take a moment to address and debunk some of the more common tropes on offer:
“It really *is* because Comey did a bad job on the Clinton investigation“ – there are actually two major problems with this theory and both of them revolve around the timing of the FBI Director’s dismissal. If Trump truly felt that Comey’s failure to indict Clinton was proof that he’d been somehow compromised, even Trump’s most loyal acolytes have said the time to fire him was sometime just after taking office on January 20th but before Comey publicly revealed that the FBI was investigating members of the Trump campaign and their associates; please keep in mind that Trump has known Comey wasn’t going to indict Clinton since July 5th, 2016. Furthermore, once Comey had testified before the Senate that he was conducting an investigation that would reach parts of Trump’s campaign and current administration, the president’s advisors would undoubtedly have warned Trump of the positively Nixonian optics involved in terminating the FBI director at this point in time. You could argue (as bullshit spewing jewelry saleswoman Kellyanne Conway has) that Trump has a right to fire numerous federal officials whenever he pleases and I’ll counter by reminding you that this fact doesn’t prevent reasonable people from being outraged at the transparent timing of Comey’s dismissal.
“Fine; but as you said yourself, someone would have warned Trump about the optics. These guys aren’t dumb enough to think they can cancel the FBI investigation just by firing James Comey.” – for starters, I said that someone would have warned Trump against firing Comey; I didn’t say that he would listen, especially in light of how angry the entire Russia probe has reportedly been making him. Additionally, I would contend that this is not the first time Trump’s absurdly arrogant administration has run headlong into completely predictable controversies like Wile E. Coyote hurdling into the side of a cliff; if I had to describe Trump’s management style as a president at this point I’d say he’s disastrously optimistic and there’s no shortage of evidence that Trump’s government is prone to blundering forward to fulfill the whims of the swine emperor with little or no thought for the ensuing consequences. Frankly however, I’m inclined to think that the best evidence that Trump would try to obstruct an investigation into his government by firing the official heading up the investigation is the fact that there’s almost nothing stopping him from doing so and he’s already done it; Comey is at least the third federal official involved in an active investigation related to the Trump administration that Trump has abruptly terminated; often with confusing explanations and after transmitting conflicting signals.
“Trump fired Comey to replace him with an FBI Director who would indict Hillary Clinton“ – this particularly absurd defense that is typically only employed by the most radical frothing, pro-Trump acolytes on social media and has many of the same timeline problems as the first excuse in this section but additionally includes the laughably naive assumption that Donald Trump would risk damaging his own presidency for greater justice. I’m only including it here to point out that despite recent precedent, it would be frothing Trump-loyalist Attorney General Jeff Sessions (or an obedient subordinate, if Sessions suddenly decided to start caring about pledges he made during his confirmation hearing) charged with indicting Clinton if Trump ordered the Department of Justice to find a way to put Hillary in jail, not James Comey and the only reason anyone assumes otherwise is because both Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch are brazenly arrogant fuck-ups. In other words, while I have no doubt that if the walls started closing in on Trump (because of the Russia probe or otherwise) he might consider dragging the Clinton email server case back into the spotlight, Trump didn’t fire Comey to indict Clinton because the president wouldn’t have needed to fire the FBI Director to get Clinton indicted.
“This is all just a liberal attempt to smear Trump and Sessions; the reasons for Comey’s firing were made clear in the Rosenstein memo and the desire to keep everything above board is why the president and the Attorney General both kept their comments brief and let the Deputy Attorney General decide what to do“ – this is another transparently specious counter designed to deflect attention away from the obvious motivations behind Donald Trump’s decision to fire an FBI Director actively involved in investigating members of his administration, but this one seems to be more popular among traditional conservatives pretending they support the swine emperor because he’ll restore law and order. Unfortunately for these longtime Matlock viewers however, there are at least two ultimately fatal problems with this line of reasoning; first, at no point in time did Rod J. Rosenstein actually suggest James Comey should be fired in his memo and additionally the Deputy Attorney General reportedly threatened to quit when the White House tried to pin this whole fiasco on him.
Why “Russiagate” Doesn’t Matter
Of course, all of the above still leaves us with a highly problematic elephant in the room of shame; the ongoing cold-war neoliberal fantasy spy novel that has become known as Russiagate. In light of the fact that I have already written thousands of words about why there’s virtually no chance Russia rigged the 2016 US presidential election or that Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin’s “Manchurian Candidate,” I’ll spare you the finer details here except to mention that given their insatiable hunger for all things #Russiagate, I find it highly suspicious that a credible revelation that Clinton’s campaign staffers schemed to blame her election loss on Russian hacking (less than 24 hours after her defeat on election day) isn’t bigger news in mainstream liberal media.
So, if I know that Russiagate was a lie cooked up to deflect blame away from mainstream Democrats after they found a way to lose an election to a fascist reality TV host; why do I believe that Trump fired Comey primarily because he wouldn’t halt the FBI’s Russia probe? Because in addition to the fairly damning evidence presented above, I feel a clear-headed examination of the people involved in the “Trump fires Comey” scandal makes it abundantly apparent that the FBI was always likely to turn up some sort of dirt on both Flynn and Trump; even if that dirt had little or nothing to do with Russia:
- As I’ve previously mentioned here on this website, Mike Flynn is a loudmouth, Islamophobic crackpot who has already been caught lying to the FBI, illegally lobbying for a Turkish company (and possibly the Erdogan government) during the 2016 election campaign and specifically identified as an unacceptable blackmail risk by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates; an observation that some say lead to her immediate termination by Trump. Have I mentioned that he’s recently been in the news fishing around for immunity from prosecution in exchange for undefined testimony in the Russia probe? Do people who are completely innocent of all crimes usually publicly leak that they’re looking for an immunity deal?
- Frankly, the case that Trump might have something to hide even if he isn’t being mind-controlled by evil global super-villain Vladimir Putin is even easier to make; just ask yourself if in light of Trump’s connection to low-key fanatic billionaires sloshing out dark money, a lifelong commitment to crooked business deals and his ongoing conflict of interest problems, do you think that just maybe the president might have something to hide? A little illegal fundraising, a few casual quid pro quo arrangements or some mild tax evasion perhaps? While you’re at it, ask yourself how many politicians (who aren’t overconfident, criminal buffoons) are there in America that don’t have something to hide? What happens to the Trump presidency if the FBI takes the time to investigate his sham charity foundation for example?
In short, it is entirely reasonable to assume that both Mike Flynn and swine emperor Trump have any number of good reasons besides Russia to want to avoid an active FBI investigation – and that’s without even examining the ethically questionable activities of their notably shady offspring; including the byzantine operations of the Trump-Kushner family business and the known alt-right looney sympathies of Mike Flynn Jr.
Well, there you have it my friends; the method, motive and opportunity behind the coverup/obstruction of justice scandal that just might take down the entire Trump government. If you can read all of the above information and not at least suspect that Donny Tiny Hands is trying to quash an investigation into his campaign, I honestly feel pretty confident labeling you as a disingenuous shill or a completely naive fool.
In the very near future, I’d like to examine some additional issues surrounding this topic like why James Comey probably deserved to be fired before he ever testified about the Russia probe, why it’s categorically incorrect to call this a constitutional crisis and why Trump is almost certainly going to get away with it all unless voters can make the ruling GOP government fear their wrath. Until then however, I’m just going to sit back and marvel at the possibility that Donald Trump may have just dug his own political grave out of a scandal that objectively wasn’t – you have to admit, after all the lies Trump has told there would be a certain poetic justice in that.
- Nina Illingworth
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