I will be first in line to tell you how much I despise the actions of FBI Director James Comey over the last year. But in firing Comey, Trump has created a clear Constitutional crisis. He is attempting to obstruct justice by derailing the Russian investigation which apparently is getting ever closer to nailing Trump’s loathsome hide to the wall. As a refresher, the Russian thing has a bunch of components:
- There is ample evidence that the Russians attempted (with success, I might add) to influence the course of the US Presidential election. The question now is: Did Trump’s team collude, guide and or otherwise support the Russians in this effort.
- Members of Trump’s team, including the since-fired Michael Flynn, had a suspicious number of meetings with Russians in the days leading up the election. The strong suspicion is that Trump was promising a tit for tat: if the Russians helped him get elected, Trump would lift the sanctions Obama had placed on developing a multi-billion dollar Russian oil field. And in a bonus piece of serendipity, that oil field was supposed to be developed by Exxon – you know, the same company that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came from.
- But most critical of all, the Russians have lent Trump millions and millions of dollars, and run a money laundering scheme through his real estate holdings. Both Trump sons have stated in the past that the great majority of their funding is coming through Russia, since US banks will no longer lend Trump money. Don’t you think that Putin has Trump by the balls? Putin could either call Trump’s loans in any day, or reveal to the world just what a sham Trump’s organization is. THIS is the reason that Trump has never offered up even a mild rebuke of Putin. He is being blackmailed, and the feds and international intelligence community are hot on the trail.
The day before Comey was fired, he had asked for additional resources to expand the investigation. Can you see why Trump would be desperate to shut this investigation down?
Comey’s firing reminds many of us of Watergate – specifically, the event called the Saturday Night Massacre. Here’s what happened: Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox was getting ever closer to nailing Nixon, seeking to access the Oval Office tapes Nixon had made throughout his career. Nixon demanded that the Attorney General fire Cox. The Attorney General AND his next in line both resigned rather than execute this demand. This happened in June of 1972 and it resulted in an absolute shit storm. By August, Nixon had resigned.
One final note: Although many Republicans supported Nixon to the end, there were a notable few of profiles in courage during Watergate – Republicans who placed country over party:
- Federal Judge John Sirica obtained and took action on evidence that the Watergate burglars had committed perjury.
- He also started the proceedings that ultimately forced Nixon to turn over his tapes. Without those tapes, Nixon probably would have walked.
- Senator Howard Baker , as a member of the Select Committee pursuing Watergate, demanded to know “what did the President know, and when did he know it?
- Senator Sam Ervin chaired the Select Committee and allowed it to follow the evidence
- White House Counsel John Dean testified of the “growing cancer on the presidency”
- When it became apparent that Nixon’s removal from office was inevitable, Senators Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater went to the White House and told Nixon he needed to resign, which he did the next day.
Now, WHO are the lions of the Republican party who will be willing to put country over party today? Who would have the courage to go to Trump and tell him he is a joke, he is a liar, he is defrauding the country and trampling on the constitution and for the good of the country, he needs to resign. Oooops, step back Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the house. You’ve already shown your lack of spine. A few lone voices have expressed varying levels of concern, but it has been pretty tepid tea up to this point. Here’s the deal: Republicans see this period as their best opportunity to pass the massive tax cuts for the rich that are so much a part of their DNA. They are willing to do anything to get those cuts, even if it means holding their noses, looking the other way and allowing Trump to trample all over the Constitution.
One potential slender ray of hope is Senator Richard Burr, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who ironically owns the North Caroline seat previously held by Watergate hero Sam Ervin. Burr has publicly expressed his concern over Comey’s firing and he is in a position to make sure the investigation proceeds. This is Burr’s last term, so it might give him the political courage and cover to conduct a forthright investigation. Now, if only a couple of other Repubs would find their patriotism and step up.