My best example comes from the series of explanations President Trump gave for the firing:
- It wasn’t my idea. In the letter Mr. Trump sent to Mr. Comey, he claimed he was simply responding to the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein. This didn’t last long as Mr. Rosenstein threatened to resign unless the White House admitted that he wrote his memo at the direction of the President (he has since denied this).
- It was because of his treatment of Hillary Clinton during the Presidential campaign. This didn’t last long as there was tape of Mr. Trump praising Mr. Comey last October 31st. Last Thursday Mr. Trump sat down with NBC News anchor Lester Holt and said this (I did some editing for clarity the previous link takes you to the interview):
Mr. Trump: [Rob Rosenstein] made a recommendation. He’s highly respected. Very good guy, very smart guy. And the Democrats like him. The Republicans like him. He had 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’ve won.
In other words he didn’t act on Mr. Robenstein’s recommendation because he had already decided to fire Mr. Comey (and fired him for a different reason).
- Mr. Comey led the FBI poorly. In the same interview with Mr. Holt, Mr Trump said this:
“Look, he’s a showboat. He’s a grandstander. 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.” It’s worth noting that the FBI’s interim director, Andrew McCabe said this: “I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity and it has been the greatest privilege and honor in my professional life to work with him. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does until this day. We are a large organization, we are 36,500 people across this country, across this globe. We have a diversity of opinions about many things, but I can confidently tell you that the majority — the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.
It’s been my experience that when someone gives me several reasons for an action or decision, it’s usually because he doesn’t want me to know the real reason. Today we learned that in February Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to end the Russia probe. It’s not a stretch to think that Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey out of disloyalty. Mr. Comey chose serve his country over his boss. If this is true, bravo Mr. Comey.