Sound Off! Trump Can't Fire His Way Out Of This One By Luke Perry
Today's The New York Times headline of President Trump’s firing of James Comey reads “Dismissal Raises Questions about Russian Investigation,” while The Washington Post’s reads“Unclear how dismissal will affect probe of Russia ties to Trump campaign.” There is no question the hope for a meaningful investigation will be lost without a special prosecutor. The new FBI Director hired by Donald Trump cannot be relied upon (wait for it) to investigate Donald Trump and his presidential campaign.
In firing Comey, President Trump cited the advice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who misspoke during Senate testimony, and then recused himself from the Russian investigation. Trump didn’t speak with Comey, who learned of his fate on TV while addressing agents.
Trump is becoming the king of conflicts of interest, challenging American democracy like no other modern president. It’s easy to argue the importance of appointing a special prosecutor for the good of democracy. That may not move the needle in these highly polarized times.
GOP self-interest might. The Russia cloud is not going away. Congressional Republicans should view the prosecutor as an umbrella to cover themselves from the hard rain gonna fall if/when the government and/or the news media get some answers about what really happened.
Trump has not ingratiated himself with the CIA and declared war on the media. I wouldn’t bet against either right now. Trump can’t fire his way out of this one.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College. His column Sound Off! critiques various aspects of presidential politics.