Donald Trump just can not stop lying about why he fired FBI Director James Comey.
Trump may be trying new nicknames, but he’s pushing an old line. It’s almost as if he doesn’t remember that he killed that excuse himself just a day after Comey’s firing.
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 of course, he told all the people who really counted a few days after that.
President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
But now … it’s almost as the evidence that Robert Mueller is working closer, and closer, and closer to Trump has convinced him that, while he might be able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue to the applause of his adoring deplorables, he might still have to face a day in court. Over obstruction.
Trump also might want to remember that nothing he says now can obscure the real reason he dismissed Comey. Because he put it in writing.
Mr. Trump sought to take action because he saw the lingering investigation as a weight on his presidency, underscored by conversations with some foreign leaders who would bring up the Russia probe, according to the administration official. The president wrote the four-page letter with the help of a senior White House aide, Stephen Miller.
The Trump—Miller letter was such an obvious case of Obstruction (with a capital O), that White House Counsel Don McGahn urged Trump to find something else. It was only then that Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein were called in to talk things over, and Rosenstein was ordered to go back to his office and produce the letter that Trump could officially have his bodyguard sneak over to Comey’s desk while he was out of town.
Unfortunately for Trump, the initial four-page letter that he and Miller wrote in one long hate session at Mar-a-Lago, not only got passed around the White House, it found a new home.
Now, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal report that special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained a letter Trump drafted to Comey in which Trump revealed the real reason for the firing: Trump was angry that Comey wouldn’t publicly confirm that the president wasn’t being investigated in the ongoing Russian electoral-interference probe.
Trump’s angry letter made it clear that Comey was fired because he wouldn’t stop the Russia investigation and wouldn’t give Trump a public exoneration that protected him against further investigation. It was exactly because he knew the truth about Comey’s firing, that Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel in the first place.
It was a stunning reversal for Rosenstein, who for weeks had been fending off congressional calls for just such a move. It was also—if the details are true—a stunning vote of no-confidence in President Donald Trump: Department of Justice sources say the White House was given only 30-minutes notice before the public announcement, and that Rosenstein had already signed the order at that point. It may also be a sign of Rosenstein’s anger at being bullied by Trump last week—when the White House, amid the uproar over Comey’s firing, tried to pin the blame on Rosenstein.
Rosenstein saw first hand Trump’s actual reasoning, and his action in making others cover-up for him. That’s why there is a Mueller investigation.
But someone really should leak that Trump—Miller letter. The public will get to see if eventually, and based on both Rosenstein’s actions and Trump’s own words, it has to be a doozy.