Opinion: The more we learn about Comey’s firing, the worse it gets

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The more we learn, the worse it gets.

We now know, for example, that from Vice President Pence on down, the Trump White House lied to the American people about how, when and why FBI Director James Comey was fired. Pence and others had tried to claim that the impetus for the firing had come independently from the Justice Department and from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and that President Trump merely acquiesced to their recommendations.

Those statements are no longer operational, to dredge up an appropriate phrase. Unable to defend that version of events against a deluge of reporting, the White House last night released a new timeline more closely aligned to reality:

By the White House official account, Trump became angry watching Comey’s testimony last week in which he confirmed on ongoing investigation into possible collusion with Russia.  On Monday, Trump demanded that the Justice Department provide him reasons for ousting Comey, which it obediently did. On Tuesday he pulled the trigger.

We also know now that instead of petering out for lack of evidence, the Russia probe has been accelerating in recent weeks.

As the Wall Street Journal reports:

“Mr. Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter and the progress of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. Mr. Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion, according to these people.”

We also know, based on numerous leaks to numerous outlets, that the White House claim that the FBI had become demoralized under Comey was false. Whatever his reputation outside the walls of the FBI, Comey was clearly a popular leader within it, and his removal has caused outrage. Agents are now reportedly wondering whether the Russia investigation will be shut down, as Trump clearly desires.

Comey himself remains officially silent, although he has been invited to testify to Congress next week. But Comey associates are leaking reports that the former FBI director had described Trump to them as “crazy” and “outside the realm of normal,” adjectives that Trump’s Twitter feed would certainly validate.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, citing a source close to Comey, reports that Comey believed that he had been fired for two reasons: He would not pledge personal loyalty to Trump; and he would not agree to end the Russia probe.

The New York Times may have given that source a name:

“With a president who seems to prize personal loyalty above all else and a director with absolute commitment to the Constitution and pursuing investigations wherever the evidence led, a collision was bound to happen,” Daniel C. Richman, a close Comey adviser and former federal prosecutor, said on Wednesday.

Looking at the political carnage, it is also now safe to conclude that what Trump believed would be a masterstroke that rid him of a tormentor was instead just another stupid move, terribly handled. It revealed him once again as a childishly impulsive president with no one on his staff capable of insisting that they think it through and at least handle the dirty deed with a veneer of intelligence and professionalism. Every step — from the cowardly, disrespectful decision to fire Comey via courier to the complete absence of a coordinated public response — reeks of the antics of an inexperienced, out-of-his-depth small-town mayor trying to seize more power than the system allots him.

Only in this case, the mayor is the president, and the system is the U.S. government.

Finally, and most ominously, we also know now that the promises by Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and other top Republicans that they would act as a check against Trump’s excesses were hollow. If they won’t stand up to him now, when will that happen?

Actually, that’s an easy question to answer. They will stand up to him when there is no longer any political risk to doing so, and not one day before then. A few brave souls within the Republican Party are saying what needs to be said, but for the most part we get craven silence.

Meanwhile, a new Quinnipiac poll, released this week but taken before Comey’s removal, shows a sharp deterioration in Trump’s support. His job approval rating has fallen to 36 percent, but the big news is why. As recently as three weeks ago, he still enjoyed strong support among white voters without a college education, with a 57-38 percent approval rating. That has collapsed to 47-46 percent. His standing among white men is also declining rapidly.

And since November, the percentage of voters who believe that Trump cares about average Americans has fallen from 51 percent to 38 percent. Apparently, Trump’s decision to hire a Cabinet full of billionaires and Goldman Sachs alumni, and to push an agenda of tax cuts for the rich, deregulating Wall Street and shoving 24 million Americans off their health insurance is being recognized for what it is even by some of his most ardent backers.

Since November, Trump’s never-stellar rating for honesty has fallen nine points, from 44 percent to 33 percent. The percentage who would describe their commander in chief as level-headed — a minimal level of competency to be president, one would think — had fallen from 38 percent to 29 percent.  In November, 74 percent of Americans at least gave Trump credit for being intelligent. That has now fallen to 56 percent.

And when asked whether they would trust the media or Trump to tell the truth about important events, 31 percent chose Trump; 57 percent chose the media.

We are less than four months into Trump’s four-year term. Republicans who believe that they it might get better if they can just nurse him through this current storm are fooling themselves. It isn’t going to get any better, because it is hard to imagine a dynamic by which it could.

Trump himself will not change, and he clings to his Twitter feed like a toddler to its blanky. There is no sign that his White House is becoming less paranoid or more competent. He is increasingly unhappy, frustrated and feeling unloved, and when Donald Trump is unhappy, frustrated and unloved, he loses what little discipline he might otherwise possess.

His increasing unpopularity is politically contagious. In the Quinnipiac poll, just 38 percent of registered voters said they want to see Republicans in control of the House after the 2018 election, compared to 54 percent who want Democratic control. That 16-point margin is the highest ever recorded in the poll. The previous highest was five percentage points, in the GOP’s favor, in 2013.

It’s not 2013.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1354 comments
John Smith
John Smith

Get out of that tree trump! He must be looking for Spicey lol

Debbie Jarvis Morris
Debbie Jarvis Morris

The only God Trump worships is himself and his money. Why you Christians support him is beyond reasonable thought ?!! He is flat out mean!! He doesn't care about you or anyone that voted for him. He only cares about himself, and maybe Ivanka.

S Jason Parr
S Jason Parr

I don't remember liberals including the AJC complaining when Clinton fired the FIB director during the White Water investigation.

Elizabeth C. Roper
Elizabeth C. Roper

The Liberals and Democrats DEMANDED that Comey be fired on June 12, 2014; August 22, 2014; March 3, 2015; March 18, 2015; June 19, 2015; July 9, 2015; September 22, 2016; October 11, 2016; October 27, 2016; NOVEMBER 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16; January 5, 2017; and January 23, 2017. But, when President Trump does it he is evil? The Liberal Movement and the Democratic Party are becoming less relevant by the minute!

Summer Smith
Summer Smith

Opinion: The more we learn about Bookman, the worse it gets. The AJC's Bookman lies to the American people.

DV Tommy Slaw
DV Tommy Slaw

The libs have been wanting him fired for a while now. The dems are such crybaby hypocrites

Wade W Johnson
Wade W Johnson

Trump did the right thing and Georgia Politics News Now is fully aware on that..Democrats have lost their way in governing a productive free Christian America. and it is a disgrace.

Wade W Johnson
Wade W Johnson

Lawanda Tillman , Abortion(murder), remove Christ from everything they can get away with, Promote Islam in schools while preventing Christian concepts, failed to enforce immigration laws, failed to prosecute corrupt Hillary, Threw our law enforcement officers "under the bus"....do you need more?

Lawanda Tillman
Lawanda Tillman

Wade W Johnson Taking away health care for the poor, not protecting/ providing clean air ,water,etc for the earth, Death Penalty Sentences (murder), Sexism against Women (grab them by the P _ ___, Islam is not promoted in schools as well as any other religion (too much Faux Noise) 45 failed to show his taxes,cheated on ALL his wives,failed to pay workers for work they did,discriminated against minorities in housing, Failed to have a real University And took money from students, lied to Congress and America...Continues to insult World Leaders and does not provide for the least, the last and the LOST, upholds LEO when they LIE....Videos proof that.. (Walter Scott ring A Bell ) I can go on and on When YOU have done it unto the least of these my Brother ,you've done it unto me. Matt. 25:40 Need I Go On.....

Brad Perry
Brad Perry

Look at all the people in denial about what is happening right in front of all of us. Being affiliated with or claiming a political party is no different than being in a gang. Trump supporters will blame any and everyone but 45 even when its objectively obvious that something is foul. Firing the man leading an investigation against you is about as corrupt as it gets. Let's just imagine Obama fired Comey for the way he handled Hillary.... Corruption should be challenged in all cases. This time its an R, next time it may be a D. Bottom line is we shouldn't allow it. For those that think AJC is biased or "fake news", you're part of the reason a large part of the country believes Southerners are dumb. Atlanta is filled with great people with intelligence and class. Its not too late to join us. If Trump is your guy then great, but its crazy to blindly trust him. There is a trail of verifiable lies and misdeeds. Defending corruption will ultimately backfire if we don't pushback. Country has to come over party (gang affiliation) at some point.

Amy Young
Amy Young

Normal everyday people see right through the liberal media who are making a big deal out of NOTHING! Good Lord give me a break this is getting so old.

Luanne West
Luanne West

Talk about killing the messenger... Because your fragile psyche quakes at the truth. The truth will come out.

Terry McMichael
Terry McMichael

Who's opinion the media what a joke CNN blast Trump 24/7 ABCs nightly new spends half of the broadcast bad mouthing Trump their White House reporter always tries to put words in Sean spicer mouth to make him look bad this mission of the press is getting old

Lawanda Tillman
Lawanda Tillman

No Spicer makes himself look bad. You can't blame that on the media.

UGAdawg34
UGAdawg34

Bookman- I know that you assumed that you could write 4 years of articles kissing Killary's a$$. Well, that didn't happen. What about actually trying to make a difference in your liberal world rather than providing a piss pool for people on the AJC site every day? 

RonHughes
RonHughes

Amen! Amen! The definition of a hack.

Starik
Starik

@RonHughes Trump and his administration are a gift to comedians and liberal commentators.

MGee Hutch
MGee Hutch

Only for those who arent still in denial that they voted for a moron and wont let their personal hatred and racist views go!

drsouls
drsouls

Spoken like a true hack...

Josh Millican
Josh Millican

Notice, this is titled as opinion... Not fact based, nor any real information.

Celia Camberos
Celia Camberos

I don't like Communist you want a take over by force it won't be easy we have the 2nd amendment you will never take us down! GOD Bless America!

Chuck Nalan
Chuck Nalan

You know why I read the a j c post, I need a good laugh !!

Leslie Blume Weaver
Leslie Blume Weaver

If our FBI hasn't found anything in a year they're either incompetent or guess what there's nothing to find. People are so stupid. You liberals just want to find something so bad that you'll manufacture it.

Naomi Buchanan
Naomi Buchanan

It took over a year to bring Nixon down,,,,just so you know

Allgood Eddy
Allgood Eddy

Not to worry my Georgia friends, poe Bookman has to be pushing 99 and senile now. Fat-Roy aged the poor man. \U0001f914\U0001f914\U0001f914\U0001f621\U0001f621\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923 Bookman and The Fat Man !!!

Erin Beasley Sluder
Erin Beasley Sluder

The fact is that 2 days ago nobody, left or right still had any confidence in comey.

Allgood Eddy
Allgood Eddy

Poe Bookman!!!\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923 thinks Ga. will now bring back!!! 'FAT-ROY'!!!!! \U0001f595

Sam Basye
Sam Basye

Is AJC a Marxist organization? Why yes. Yes it is.

Sam Basye
Sam Basye

If you knew what Marxism was, you would have not asked this question. Go do some homework.

MGee Hutch
MGee Hutch

Well hell! I would love to hear how much homework you have done to make the claim you did about the AJC being a Marxist organization and your attempt at blasting Sam Basye for asking you how!!!

Sam Basye
Sam Basye

MGee Hutch! Go grind your organ at the other end of the street.. \U0001f603

Binyamin Thiel
Binyamin Thiel

Stop AJC! It has become laughable, at this point, to see you morons attack Donald Trump for every single thing he has ever done. Just days ago, Democrats were calling for the termination of Comey. Now that Trump has fired him, you want to shame him for doing exactly what you wanted done. I said a long time ago that Trump could come up with a cure for cancer and Liberals would cry about how terrible of a man Donald Trump is for finding a cure for such a wonderful illness.

Cameron Reeves O'kon
Cameron Reeves O'kon

So glad most all of the commenters here see the right of things, and the libs all sound like elementary children, ahahahaha. To the woman who expressed her argument with " suck on that" sounds like an intelligent argument to me...lol, you represent many of the Dems I've met :)

Ross Gloss
Ross Gloss

You get a trophy for participation. Look at you commenting away with your angry little ignorant fingers. Does the koolaid taste good??

Debbie Jarvis Morris
Debbie Jarvis Morris

At least we don't have mirror selfies as a profile picture. What's wrong ? No friends ?

Homer Biles
Homer Biles

Words of wisdom from the Al Jazeera Constitution!

Bill Shields
Bill Shields

Bookman the paid Democrat operative masquerading as a 'journalist'

David Anderson
David Anderson

There are plenty of places to find opinion pieces you can agree with.

Bill Shields
Bill Shields

Bookman claims to be a journalist so my statement is correct. He isn't some dude off the street. He's paid by AJC