I have to admit I am skeptical of both sides of the James Comey matter. This is not unheard of, nor is it a constitutional crisis. The president of the United States has it within his power to fire the head of the FBI. President Clinton, while being investigated by the FBI, fired then Director William Sessions. Many of the people now complaining were perfectly fine with that.
Likewise, since July of 2016, many prominent Democrats have demanded Comey be fired. Eight hours before President Trump fired Comey, a number of Obama administration officials on social media were blasting Comey for his testimony on Huma Abedin. The FBI had to retract his testimony.
It is ridiculous and funny to see a bunch of people who have long demanded Comey be fired suddenly treat him like a martyred saint because Donald Trump fired him. It is also really convenient that “sources” are leaking like sieves to the media telling the media exactly what it wants to hear.
The problem, of course, is that the president is a congenital, serial liar who will willingly contradict himself within separate clauses of a single sentence.
In case you have forgotten, White House sources claimed the president threatened to invade Mexico, which he did not. White House sources claimed senior State Department officials resigned en masse, which they did not. White House sources claimed the president was walking back Russian sanctions, which he did not. White House sources have an amazing way of telling the media everything the media already believes only to then see it all retracted.
The problem, of course, is that the president is a congenital, serial liar who will willingly contradict himself within separate clauses of a single sentence. To believe the president, one must believe so much that is not so. He treats the truth like one of his ex-wives.
Therein lies the problem. It is, to be sure, perfectly reasonable to think the president fired James Comey because he viewed Comey as not a team player. The gist of the White House leaks is that the president wanted a preview of Comey’s testimony on Russia and Comey declined. Unfortunately, much of the media has suggested there is a pending criminal investigation within the FBI over the president and his campaign team. This is not actually true.
The FBI has a pending investigation, but it is not criminal, rather it is a counterintelligence investigation. The only pending criminal investigation is related to Gen. Mike Flynn. It is, unfortunately, hard to sort it all out. So many reporters are predisposed to believe the worst about the president. If someone leaked that President Trump eats children, it would more likely than not make the front page of The New York Times the next day. Any leak that comports to what the media already thinks about the president is believed as fact until proven not true.
Of course the president does everything he can to play to this. The president is vain, thin skinned, temperamental and prone to rash judgments. He does demand absolute loyalty and he is prone to fire people who he thinks are not on his team. He is convinced the press and much of his own administration is out to get him, which does foster a bit of paranoia.
The best conclusion I have to offer on Comey is the simplest. The man should have been fired and deserved to be fired. But President Trump probably had less than noble motives for firing the man. That does not mean, however, that the Russian investigation will be halted. In fact, the interim director of the FBI will be a Democrat, and the Senate investigation will proceed too. I would also suggest there should be an independent investigation. Comey’s firing should compel this.
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.