As if grandstanding and showboating wasn’t enough, Trump claimed that Comey “wasn’t doing a good job.” The President told NBC’s Lester Holt, on Thursday, May 11, (though he’s said it many times before), "there's no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians." All know the mantra that the allegations are “fake” and “made up.” Taking Trump at his word, the FBI investigation into his campaign is a waste of time and anyone who wastes time on the clock is not doing a good job and can be fired. Q.E.D.
Besides all that, Trump said the ex-Director had lost the support of his agents. Andrew W. McCabe, FBI Acting Director, didn’t corroborate that in a congressional committee hearing on Thursday. To the contrary, McCabe testified, there was broad support for Comey among the rank and file. So far no one, except the White House, has disputed him.
J. Edgar Hoover, the powerful first FBI Director was feared and hated by many politicians, including LBJ. Various Johnson associates were shocked, therefore, when the President re-appointed Hoover to another term. Asked to explain his decision, LBJ said “Would you rather have Edgar inside the tent pissing out, or on the outside pissing in?” Donald Trump just made the mistake Johnson refused.
At the storied dinner between the President and the Director, according to media citing sources close to Comey, Trump, allegedly, asked another question. He wanted to know if the Director would be loyal to him. Comey responded, it’s said, by assuring Trump that he’d always be “truthful” with him. This promise may have precipitated the President’s questions about whether or not he, himself, was under investigation by the FBI, not that it matters.
Under the laws of principal and agency the principal is responsible for the acts of his agents. This means Trump’s attempts to distinguish between himself and the campaign do not square. The head of United Airlines didn’t rough up a passenger, himself, but he’s responsible, anyway, because his people did. Ditto, Trump and the campaign since, for legal purposes, the two may be deemed merged.
To his bad luck, Trump scheduled a meeting with two high-ranking Russians hours after firing Comey. Almost famous Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S., was in the Oval Office on Wednesday, along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. American photographers were excluded from the meeting but, fortunately, TASS, the official Russian news outlet, got in and distributed pictures of the trio around the globe. They earned the royalties.
The White House, and even V.P. Mike Pence, previously, had maintained that Comey was fired because Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein urged the President to end the Director’s tenure in a sua sponte writing. Trump claimed that he had no choice, thereafter, but to fire Comey, a decision in which the Attorney General concurred. After Rosenstein disputed that he was the initiating party and threatened to quit, Trump clarified the matter. The President told NBC that he’d decided to fire Comey almost from the beginning, meaning everything else was a sheer waste of time.
If he was looking for a sound reason to fire Comey, the President could have done so without the charade by citing Comey’s, alleged, statement that he was “crazy.” Saying your boss suffers from a mental disease or defect will get you terminated, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. Whether Comey spoke clinically, or colloquially, is unknown but it’s relevant at any trial on the merits should the President sue the Director. Trump has hired an outside law firm to deal with his Russian matters so the notion may not be that farfetched given the tone of the times.