••• The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check USA + Readers Responses
Donald Trump: Stupid, Guilty or Both?
The firing of FBI Director James Comey confirms two things; the president of the United States is probably guilty and most definitely stupid.
There is no other explanation for this maneuver; its timing, its politics, it optics, its reflection of the current investigation into his campaign’s role in Russia’s meddling in our national electoral process, or the eventual handling of the announcement. Unless you’re guzzling the Trump Kool-Aid, no one can possibly offer a rationale for doing this, or at least doing this now, that doesn’t end with guilty, stupid or both.
Trump’s letter of dismissal to Comey told the whole tale. The president decided to include an aside about having been told personally by the man he was sacking that he was not directly under investigation…three times; a ham-fisted attempt to deflect the idea that this had nothing to do with being under investigation. By the way, that alone would be grounds to dismiss an FBI director. Whispering in the ear of the subject of an investigation that it ain’t really about him before its conclusion breaks so many laws it is hard to fathom.
Even more idiotic is Trump revealing a previous dinner engagement with Comey to NBC News the following day that included discussions on the director keeping his job. “I told him I’d think about it,” said Trump in the way a CEO dangles career survival as a bargaining chip. Later a NY Times report cited sources close to Comey that claimed the “thinking about it” came with a caveat of “loyalty”, to which Comey said he would provide the president only his “honesty”, something Trump obviously could not abide.
The second part of the letter frames several calls for Comey’s dismissal by members of the Justice Department, more pointedly, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. According to the voices that defended this move over the ensuing 24 hours, like the vice president, two press secretaries (can anyone find Sean Spicer?) and the usual host of spinners, it was Rosenstein’s strong recommendation that Comey be removed that sprang “the decisive president” into action, thus, in essence, laying the responsibility for it on someone else. However, in a spectacular twist of stupidity, the president pissed on all that and once gain told NBC News it had nothing to do with any recommendation. “I was going to fire Comey all the time,” Trump admitted, adding stuff about Comey being “a grandstander” and “a showboat”, which is like Metallica telling you that your band is too loud.
Joining the stupid/guilty party is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who also recommended Comey’s dismissal in print, despite having to recuse himself from anything connected to the Russian investigation after lying to congress about his own potential involvement.
And the reason given for the firing? (drum roll) Comey had destroyed the FBI’s morale and …wait for it…hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Cue laugh track.
Just last week, Trump, painfully unaware he is no longer in a campaign, stood in front of his cult following as they chanted “Lock her up!” and smiled. He repeatedly praised Comey for his “guts” in handling the Clinton email investigation for months and then when he became president not only allowed him to continue in the position, he never once mentioned removing him.
And then he did; just one coincidental day after the recently fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates spent hours presented damning evidence that either stupidly, guilt or both led to the firing of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for his illegal involvement with the Russians. You don’t have to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to sleuth this one.
Then, a day after the firing, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appeared before congress and completely refuted the White House claim that Comey committed any “atrocities” (their word) or what the president and his spinners referred to as a department “loss of confidence” in him. In fact, McCabe said Comey engendered "broad support within the FBI and still does to this day," adding, "The vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey." In other words, for about the four-hundredth time since taking office, (voter fraud, fake news, wiretapped by Obama, ships heading to Korean Peninsula) Trump made it all up.
This is once again a solution looking for a reason.
Now, whether you choose to ignore the glaring evidence pointing toward guilt or explain it away with sub-mental theorizing about witch hunts, no one actually knows if Donald Trump or the dozen or so of his campaign staffers are actually guilty of anything beyond hubris and, well, stupidity, but one thing is for certain, through his erratic tweeting and haphazard reactions to all of it the president sure thinks he’s guilty of something.
First and foremost although he continues to call the investigation and the Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, confirmed by every level of U.S. intelligence community, a hoax, the president has spent an enormous amount of energy and time defending himself. And while mocking investigations against you is classic Al Capone stuff, Trump only echoes the idea that there is something worth mocking.
Secondly, the White House has done back-flips to get ahead of the story at every turn, hoping to thwart its momentum, from releasing bogus info to one of the lead congressional investigators to the aforementioned sacking of Sally Yates mere weeks after she warned the administration of its abysmal pick of a traitor as national security advisor.
And now in this final act of desperation, following his hollow “Mission Accomplished” moment in the White House rose garden hailing a healthcare bill that will certainly be hacked into unrecognizable pieces by a frightened senate and sent back to the House in a body bag, the president disappears for five days before emerging with this bungled firing of the person who holds the most delicate position to nail him.
What shouldn’t be lost in all this is that Comey was really shitty at this job, or at least performing the public face of it. His July 5, 2016 berating of a major party candidate after exonerating her of criminal activity as if she were a kindergarten student was not only unprofessional and idiotic but put the onus on future directors to not only present “just the facts, ma’am”, but add some kind of Supreme Court dissent to each decision. Then, unconscionably, he halted the democratic process of a national election by erroneously leading the American electorate to believe that the same investigation was re-opened on flimsy evidence that wasn’t really evidence.
And while I think Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump had little to nothing to do with Comey’s blatant overreach and clumsy communication, it does not clear him of being shitty.
Even so, this would have been a gutsy move by Trump in January or even February, but now? When Comey was currently requesting further resources to increase the investigation? When Trump had a meeting with Russian diplomats closed off to the media?
Yeah, stupid, guilty or both.
© James Campion May 12th 2017
READERS RESPONSES June 1st 2017
This is really like some sort of episode of the old Twilight Zone. Sane people sit back and say... "Well surely NOW people will see" and we've been saying that for about a year or two now, on a weekly basis. (MORE FUN WITH THE RUSSIA THING – We just continue to be astonished at how he gets away with things every day, any one of which would have sunk others in the past!
People are so afraid and so unhappy they hang on to this charlatan's nonsense and refuse the weekly proof of such. I found it very interesting reading a story by a psychologist that his narcissism runs so deep he just sees others as an extension of himself and that would explain his curious behavior at his post-election rallies. He basically told people that "lock her up" and "drain the swamp" were lies he told and just good things to say to get elected. He seemed to think that everyone in the audience was in on the joke. Many in the crowd looked stunned but he couldn't help but brag to his "friends" how clever he was in using all that BS to get elected.
In many ways, I appreciate Trump as a way for me to quickly realize people I have no interest in being associated with anymore. If at this point you still support Trump, after having plenty of time to see that you made a terrible mistake, you are either one of two things. Very stupid or so un-evolved and filled with fear that I really want nothing to do with you. As a good friend once said, "I weep for this world".
"There are many names for this kind of thing, but the most accurate is perjury."
You're as much fun as Andy Borowitz, but your column, unlike Borowitz's little political riffs, offer actual news.
Eventually someone is going to have to ask this question: If Trump has nothing to do with this “Russia thing”, as you call it, then why is he either mocking it, calling it a hoax or going out of his way to stymie the progress of the United States trying to get to the bottom of a foreign enemy messing with our electoral process?
Now, either Trump is guilty as sin, he sure as hell is acting like it, or he is just a complete ego maniac who would rather this not have anything to do with the Russians and his popular-vote defeat have to do with “voter fraud” rather than admit he got beat by Clinton in the popular vote or the Russians had nothing to do with it. Knowing him, it is probably the latter. But doesn’t it look like absolute shit that the president of the United States doesn’t care or needs to quash a major investigation into the Russians’ meddling in our democracy?
The answer, no matter what excuse he or his cult followers give, is…YES!
Man Matt “Lock Him Up!”
This is very, very disturbing. How many people is it now who worked for Donald Trump that’s been connected with the Russians, either monetarily, ideologically or directly? A Russian government, who not only spied on us, but is run by a psycho despot and is helping to massacre innocent women and children in Syria and having invaded Ukraine, thumbing its nose at the world? This is what Making American Great has wrought. This is what hatred of the Clintons has given us. This is what jingoism and fear and anti-Muslim, anti-women, anti-gay and anti-Mexican has given us. This is what 80 thousand or so fed-up voters in the Rust Belt has handed us, a government now in bed with a fascist lunatic.
I remember when people in the country went to jail for merely saying the word Communist or having known someone who was one or whatever. I remember decades of Cold War rhetoric that this would have been considered beyond treason.
You live long enough that the leader of the Republican Party and now our president becomes a puppet apologist for Russia, who is trying to hide the fact or deny the fact that we were hacked and invaded (for all intents and purposes) by them.
People who said Obama hated America need to wake up to who really does hate it; Donald J. Putin.
The problem with repealing a law as massive as the ACA is that it has already been adopted by states with the caveat that it will be subsidized by the federal government. (HEALTH CARE: HERE WE GO AGAIN – Issue: 3/15/17) The Republicans know this and they know that there are people with pre-existing conditions that insurance companies, if left to the free market, would boot and they will die. And then they will own that.
Plus it does not help that the president has promised affordable “tremendous” free health care for all! And it does not help that the TEA Party folks were voted in not to govern, but to say “No!” And they have zero interest in providing a solution to this incredibly important and hugely expensive issue. They just want it gone, but the president does not. He wants more, more, more!
I do not envy Paul Ryan. I am not sure he knows what his party wants to do. And as you have pointed out, they now have to actually govern and pass something that will affect people, instead of being just the “opposition party”.
Let’s see how that goes. My guess is not good.
This is why some of us say repeal Obamacare outright and leave health insurance to the free market. Voila!
That’s why the Republicans are in control – or why they’re supposed to be.
Elizabeth Vengen Esq.
Once again, you miss the point of this whole exercise in futility. We are going to be Single Payer in our lifetime. In fact, it is in the GOP bill if you are experienced enough in healthcare coverage to see it. It’s all there, black and white. Provider accepting government negotiated reimbursements with no balance billing? Check. “Payroll taxes” to cover “hospital coverages”? Check. We have 2 of the 3 necessary ingredients for Single Payer and the third is coming no later than 2020.
The funny part about liberals screaming over this is they won and don’t even realize it.
Donald Trump is clearly a socialist. So is Paul Ryan! Especially if they pass ANY health care bill instead of just repealing this nonsense. If this goes through he loses my vote in 2020, and so do the Republicans in 2018. Fuck them!
Do yourself no favors and “like” this idiot at www.facebook.com/jc.author
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.
The Trump Century Mark
Dissecting the Worst First 100 Days of a Presidency
Congratulations to Donald J. Trump. Not since 1933 when they started using this century metric to measure the length and breadth of a newly minted president have we seen more chaos, failure and mayhem in the first 100 days of an administration.