I have been highly critical of President Trump, as you know. I think he is unfit for office. But I have also been hoping and rooting for his success, hoping against the evidence that he might grow into the role. He’s the President. His success is our success. Today, though, I’m throwing in the towel. President Trump must resign.
As you know, the President fired the Director of the FBI this week. He had the power to do it. The timing and circumstances of the firing made it pretty obvious that the purpose of the firing was to rid himself of a “disloyal” (that is, independent), powerful law enforcement official looking into the conduct of the President’s associates and maybe the President himself. But the White House at least offered a fig leaf for the firing, namely Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Today, though, the President made his motive clear:
DONALD TRUMP: Look he’s a show boat, he’s a grand stander, the FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago, it hasn’t recovered from that.
LESTER HOLT: Monday you met with the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosen—Rosenstein
DONALD TRUMP: Right.
LESTER HOLT: Did you ask for a recommendation?
DONALD TRUMP: Uh what I did is I was going to fire Comey—my decision, it was not [OVER TALK]
LESTER HOLT: You had made the decision before they came in the room?
DONALD TRUMP: I—I was going to fire Comey. Uh I—there’s no good time to do it by the way. Uh they—they were— [OVER TALK]
LESTER HOLT: Because you letter you said I—I, I accepted their recommendation, so you had already made the decision
DONALD TRUMP: Oh I was gonna fire regardless of recommendation—
LESTER HOLT: So there was— [OVER TALK]
DONALD TRUMP: He made—he made a recommendation, he’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy, uh the Democrats like him, the Republicans like him, uh he made a recommendation but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing, there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. And the reason they should have won it is the electoral college is almost impossible for a Republican to win. Very hard. Because you start off at such a disadvantage. So everybody was thinking, they should have won the election. This was an excuse for having lost an election.
And this wasn’t just a slip of the tongue. Here is the President’s spokeswoman at a press conference yesterday:
Q. And just to clarify one thing you said. You said the President has encouraged this investigation into Russia. He wants to see it reach its completion sooner rather than later. How has he encouraged it if he just fired the man who was overseeing the Russia investigation?
MS. SANDERS: There are multiple people that are part of this, and it’s not just the FBI. You’ve got the House Committee, the Senate Committee.
Look, again, the point is, we want this to come to its conclusion. We want it to come to its conclusion with integrity. And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.
I’m not a criminal lawyer, and so I don’t want to say whether this is technically obstruction of justice. If it is, it is, and it well may be. But regardless, what the President has done is so clearly improper that it can’t be allowed to stand. It’s true that the President can fire the Director of the FBI for any reason or for no reason. But we have the written law and then we have our political norms and culture. And there is no world in which it’s okay to fire the FBI Director because you don’t want him investigating you.
The Republicans in Congress have a choice to make.They have the power to issue subpoenas. They have the power to conduct oversight. They could pass a new special prosecutor law. They have the ultimate power to consider—I don’t even want to say it. What will they do?