Trump Takes Charge
Yesterday's dramatic White House announcement that President Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey caught Washington by surprise, and perhaps no one more so than Mr. Comey himself.
President Trump is clearly in charge and comfortable making tough decisions. He has fired the acting attorney general who refused to defend his national security order limiting immigration and now the FBI director.
The White House had to know these would be very controversial decisions that would cause the talking heads to set their hair on fire. Not surprisingly, President Trump has no problem telling bureaucrats, "You're fired!"
Here is my analysis and some major points big media are ignoring.
On the issue of timing, left-wing reporters and commentators apparently can't decide what their theme is. Some say that if Trump wanted to fire Comey, he should have fired him immediately after the inauguration. Others are saying that this is just another rash act that came out of nowhere, demonstrating the president's unpredictability.
Here's what you need to know: The White House has been observing Comey's performance. We have reported to you in the past that the FBI was deeply divided over Comey's actions last year. Former Justice Department insiders like Joe diGenova have said for months that Comey no longer has the confidence of FBI field agents.
In recent days, Comey made major errors in his testimony before Congress. The FBI has been busy correcting his testimony. The truth is that no matter when Trump removed Comey, the left was going to scream "Cover Up," just like it did when the president dismissed federal attorneys.
As Trump was evaluating Comey, he had to wait for a major piece to fall into place. That was the confirmation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a highly respected career prosecutor who has direct oversight of the FBI.
Rosenstein was confirmed only two weeks ago. But evidently Rosenstein did not like what he saw at the FBI, and he wrote an extremely compelling memo making the case for Comey's dismissal.
Some critics are saying that President Trump should have briefed congressional leaders before Comey was dismissed so they would have been prepared. Trust me, if the president had told more than two or three members of Congress, it would have leaked within 15 minutes and there would have been massive pushback to prevent the firing.
If there were constant leaks and serious allegations suggesting the president was in real trouble for colluding with the Russians, then firing the FBI director would certainly raise eyebrows. But every signal in this investigation, which started nearly a year ago, has been the exact opposite.
In his letter dismissing Comey, President Trump thanked him for "informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation." James Clapper, Obama's director of National Intelligence, has said there is no evidence of collusion with Russia.
Michael Morell, Obama's former CIA Director, said, "There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark. And there's a lot of people looking for it." Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that there is no evidence of collusion with Russia.
Meanwhile, the only crime we know of was the leaking of the NSA intercepts of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's phone calls. But the Washington Post reports that the FBI under Comey's leadership has "resisted calls to prioritize leak investigations." And Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been extremely frustrated by the FBI's "startling lack of responsiveness" to various issues he has been pursuing.
Comey's New Friends
It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry at all of James Comey's new friends. For the past year, people like former Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi have blasted Comey. They have demanded his resignation and accused him of violating the rules, breaking the law and interfering in the election.
In recent days, according to one report, nearly 1,000 headlines have repeated Hillary Clinton's claim that Comey cost her the election. The left-wing outlet Mother Jones blasted Comey as "worse" than a partisan Republican hack.
Yet after Donald Trump fired Comey, this action is denounced as "Nixonian" and "authoritarian." MSNBC's Chris Matthews said it had the "whiff of fascism."
This is coming from the same pundits and politicians who looked the other way when Bill Clinton met with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch on an airport tarmac. Virtually no one in the media wanted to pursue what certainly looked like a conspiracy to rig the investigation and thus influence the election.
I could fill pages with the left's hypocrisy. But perhaps the most amazing example comes from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
When Comey testified last week about feeling "mildly nauseous" at the thought that his action might have influenced the election, Podesta tweeted, "The American public is getting mildly nauseous listening to Jim Comey."
But last night, referring to Richard Nixon's firing of the Watergate special prosecutor, Podesta tweeted to Donald Trump in Comey's defense, "Didn't you know you're supposed to wait til Saturday night to massacre people investigating you?"
Who Takes Over?
Hopefully, the White House has given some thought as to who should take over the FBI and, as President Trump put it, who can "restore the public's trust and confidence" in the FBI. A March poll found that only 17% of registered voters had a favorable view of FBI Director Comey.
But as of now, the acting director is Andrew McCabe. His wife was a Democrat candidate in Virginia with close ties to Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe. McCabe needs to be replaced quickly.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been mentioned as a possible replacement. But that seems unlikely given the Bridgegate scandal. I think Rep. Trey Gowdy and former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would be excellent choices.
Predictably, the left is united in denouncing President Trump's decision to fire James Comey, while the right is divided. Some Senate Republicans, such as Senator Charles Grassley, Senator Susan Collins and Senator Lindsey Graham, were quick to support the president's decision and they rejected notions of partisan conspiracies.