• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

If Trump Really Was Trying To Hobble The Russia Investigation, He Has Failed Miserably

Trump Russia

Charles Krauthammer makes an excellent point in connection with President Trump’s decision to fire former F.B.I. Director James Comey.

There was ample bipartisan sentiment for letting Comey go. And there was ample time from election day on to do so. A simple talk, a gold watch, a friendly farewell, a Comey resignation to allow the new president to pick the new director. No fanfare, no rancour.

True, this became more difficult after March 20 when Comey revealed that the FBI was investigating the alleged Trump-Russia collusion. Difficult but not impossible. For example, just last week Comey committed an egregious factual error about emails from Huma Abedin [formerly a senior aide to Hillary Clinton] that the FBI had to abjectly walk back in a written memo to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Here was an opportunity for a graceful exit: Comey regrets the mistake and notes that some of the difficult decisions he had previously made necessarily cost him the confidence of various parties. Time for a clean slate. Add the usual boilerplate about not wanting to be a distraction at such a crucial time. Awkward perhaps, but still dignified and amicable.

Instead we got this – a political axe murder, brutal even by Washington standards. (Or even Roman standards. Where was the vein-opening knife and the warm bath?) No final meeting, no letter of resignation, no presidential thanks, no cordial parting. Instead, a blindsided Comey ends up in a live-streamed OJ Simpson-style Bronco ride, bolting from Los Angeles to be flown, unfrocked, back to Washington.

Why? Trump had become increasingly agitated with the Russia-election investigation and Comey’s very public part in it. If Trump thought this would kill the inquiry and the story, or perhaps even just derail it somewhat, he’s made the blunder of the decade. Whacking Comey has brought more critical attention to the Russia story than anything imaginable. It won’t stop the FBI investigation. And the confirmation hearings for a successor to Comey will become a nationally televised forum for collusion allegations, which up till now have remained a scandal in search of a crime.

So why did Trump do it? Now we know: the king asked whether no one would rid him of this troublesome priest, and got so impatient he did it himself.

As Krauthammer notes at the start of his most recent column, there was something of a bipartisan consensus in Washington that Comey’s position was vulnerable. For Democrats, there was the fact that Comey had taken what they contend to this day was the unprecedented and unnecessary step of sending and making public a letter he sent to Congress in October of last year just ten days prior to the election in which he revealed the existence of additional emails that may have been connected to Hillary Clinton’s email server found on a computer belonging to Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner. That letter, they contend, served to upend an election campaign that was clearly moving in Hillary Clinton’s favor and managed to throw enough doubt into the minds of the electorate to throw doubts about Clinton back into the minds of voters. The follow-up letter that Comey sent just days before the election, they say, came far too late to undo any damage that initial letter may have done. For Republicans, Comey’s sin was committed back in July of last year during which he held a lengthy press conference in which he announced the results of the F.B.I’s investigation and announced that based on the investigation the Bureau was recommending that no charges be filed against anyone in the matter due to the fact that Clinton’s actions, while “extremely careless,” did not rise to the level of criminality needed for prosecution. This action, Clinton critics maintained, was in no small part a display of favoritism toward Clinton that similarly situated civilians would not have received. Whether or not Krauthammer is correct about the existence of this consensus and whether the President shared it, which seems doubtful given his effusive praise for Comey in the wake of the October letter, it’s certainly true that Comey had managed to get himself into a position where he had many doubters in political circles in Washington and that there could have been a way to dismiss him had it been handled correctly.

Instead of handling it correctly, though, this Administration has done precisely everything that one would expect someone who has ulterior motives or something to hide would do. As I have detailed in successive posts since Monday afternoon — see here, here, here, here, and here — the Administration’s explanation for why Comey was fired has changed about as many times as the sun has risen and set over that period. At first, we were told that the entire impetus for the decision that the President made came from the memorandum prepared by Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein regarding Comey, a memorandum that focused exclusively on his July press conference regarding the Clinton email server investigation. Then, when the media began to question the timing of the announcement and the fact that it came only days after Comey’s testimony regarding the Russia investigation, we learned that Trump had met with Attorney General Sessions, who had supposedly recused himself from the Russia investigation, and Rosenstein, who was  tasked with the job of coming up with reasons to fire Comey, no doubt reasons that had nothing to do with the ongoing Russia investigation since explicitly citing that as a reason for firing would be politically untenable. Also lending suspicion to the questions about ulterior motives were things such as  Trump’s claim in his letter to Comey that Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he was not a target of an investigation. Such a conversation would, of course, be an entirely improper thing for Comey to do regardless of whether or not Trump himself were a target, and sources close to Comey have told reporters that the President’s claim is nonsense. It’s was also reported that Comey refused a request that he give the White House a preview of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, something which reportedly “infuriated” the President, and that he rebuffed a request from the President for a pledge of personal loyalty to the President. We also learned Additionally, that Comey had been asking for additional resources for the Russia investigation in the days before being fired. Then, yesterday, Trump seemed to confirm that the Russian investigation was involved his decision to fire Comey in a television interview,

Taken together, these stories reveal either utter incompetence on the part of the White House, or a conscious effort to cover-up, well, something, and to divert public attention from an investigation that has reportedly been infuriating the President for weeks now. Because of the manner in which they executed Comey’s dismissal and the manner in which they have bungled their public response, though, the White House has guaranteed that the investigation will not only continue but that it’s likely to intensify. Rather than shutting down anytime soon, the investigation will not include an examination of the circumstances regarding Comey’ firing, the contacts between Comey and Trump, including the allegation that Comey revealed the status of the investigation to the President in violation of F.B.I. policies and procedures and that Trump demanded a loyalty pledge from Comey, the existence of a taping system in the White House, and any conversations that the President may have had with advisers regarding firing Comey. So rather than making this investigation go away, President Trump has guaranteed that it will gain new momentum both in Congress and, most likely, among the F.B.I. agents tasked with investigating the matter. Where that leads is something only time will tell.

 

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. teve tory says:

    My maternal grandfather passed away about 10 years ago. He went to his grave thinking Richard Nixon was an honorable man who was chased out of office by evil scheming democrats.

    As I was driving through Kansas yesterday, then Missouri, I heard a regional afternoon call-in show. All the callers were talking about how the Deep State, Democrats, RINOs, Media, Congress, Obama, and Hillary were trying to tear Trump down but real Patriotic Americans are behind him 100%. I literally heard a guy whoop “KEEP DRAININ THE SWAMP MISTER PRESIDENT!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. gVOR08 says:

    reasons that had nothing to do with the ongoing Russia investigation since explicitly citing that as a reason for firing would be politically untenable.

    And make it impossible for Sessions to endorse it without making it blatant that his recusal is a farce.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Watch Manafort. The FBI just raided an office in Annapolis that is tied to Manafort. And Rachel Maddow reported last night that despite his promises, Manafort never did register as a foreign agent. She thought that was Sessions giving him a pass, but I wonder if applying as a foreign agent triggers any sort of background check.

    In any event, I’m as convinced as ever that this is about money first. Trump’s kids say he was high on Russian money. Manafort is a money-launderer through Limassol, Cyprus, which is a Russian outpost with notoriously easy-going banks. And everyone in the Trump administration has been caught lying about making contact with, or taking money from, Vladimir Putin.

    I think it’s as true today as it was in 1973 – Follow the money.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  4. SKI says:

    Instead of handling it correctly, though, this Administration has done precisely everything that one would expect someone who has ulterior motives or something to hide would do.

    Taken together, these stories reveal either utter incompetence on the part of the White House, or a conscious effort to cover-up, well, something, and to divert public attention from an investigation that has reportedly been infuriating the President for weeks now.

    Trump’s actions are a direct result of his personality. He is a tone-deaf autocratic wannabe.

    I forget who tweeted this but their comment, in explaining why it may be wrong to assume that Trump’s actions are indeed the clear indication of guilt they appear to be, was that Trump is acting like Saddam did pre-war when his actions made the world think he had WMD even though he didn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  5. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Watch Manafort. The FBI just raided an office in Annapolis that is tied to Manafort

    Speaking from Annapolis, that “tie” is extremely attenuated (like someone he used to work with now works with that firm.

    And the raid revolved around improprieties in fundraising for the Virginia Governors race.

    It is amusing because “grifters gonna grift” but it don’t think it will end up connected to Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @SKI:
    Thanks for the info.

    OT, I used to live in Annapolis. I waited tables at Middleton’s, my wife at Armadillos. To this day, almost 40 years later, having survived the horror as waiters, our watchword for something exhausting is still: Boat Show.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds: we stay way away from downtown on boat show weekends. Insanity unleashed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Kari Q says:

    I vote for “utter incompetence.” I don’t think Trump had any reason for firing Comey beyond “He made me feel bad when he said the thought of helping me become president made him nauseous.” I presume he had to ask ivanka what “nauseous” meant because it wasn’t “terrible” or “sad.”

    Mind you, it seems pretty clear people around him had shady ties to the Russians that they knew were shady, but I don’t think Trump gave that a momentary thought in his decision.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. CSK says:

    Slightly OT, I suppose, but the picture of Trump accompanying this post always makes me laugh. Trump is trying so hard to look stern, presidential, and overflowing with gravitas, and instead he just resembles an old, ugly, and very petulant baby.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. Janis Gore says:
  11. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: I’m a recent Annapolitan (??) myself. Lived in B-more for the last five years of the twentieth century and never made it any closer than the Bay Bridge. Pleasantly surprised to find it’s a really nice town.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Mr. Bluster says:

    If Trump Really Was Trying To Hobble The Russia Investigation, He Has Failed Miserably
    If Trump Really Is Trying To Be President USA, He Is Failing Miserably

    FTFY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  13. JohnMcC says:

    @MarkedMan: Add me to the list with Annapolis connections. Graduated from Annapolis Hi in ’63. Lived there a 5 or 6 years in the ’90s. Cool place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. MarkedMan says:

    It comes back to the question that is puzzling me. Trump is obviously a delusional trashcan filled with fireworks, boxes of matches, and candles. But McConnell and Ryan keep coming out and supporting him and, obviously, someone is keeping all the Republican Eunuch Congress-critters in line. But why? Do they honestly think they can keep this up for four more years? Obviously, no one in leadership in the Republican Party gives a small d*mn about the country, but even for their own parties sake, wait, forget that: for their own survival, shouldn’t they be doing the only sensible thing and cutting this idiot loose?

    What is stopping them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Beats me. Possibly they’re terrified of the Trumpkins starting a shooting war in the streets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: grew up in B’more, moved to
    Naptown in ’04.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Moosebreath says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “Obviously, no one in leadership in the Republican Party gives a small d*mn about the country, but even for their own parties sake, wait, forget that: for their own survival, shouldn’t they be doing the only sensible thing and cutting this idiot loose?”

    The problem is that Trump is more popular with the Republican base than they are. So if they go against Trump, they are ensuring they get a contested primary, and one which they likely would lose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Mr. Bluster says:

    …shouldn’t they be doing the only sensible thing and cutting this idiot loose?

    Screw them! The time for rhetoric has passed!
    We need to invoke the spirits of Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman and the Fugs. We can circle the building, chant ancient Aramaic exorcism rites and levitate the White House!
    https://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/the-day-they-levitated-the-pentagon/
    (The action’s absurdism extended even to the process of securing a permit beforehand; the authorities finally agreed to allow the Pentagon to be elevated three feet in the air, down from the 300 feet that organizers had initially requested..)
    This incantation works every time. The faster you say it, the better the results!
    OWA TABOO BYAM! OWA TABOO BYAM! OWA TABOO BYAM!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. michael reynolds says:

    It seems all our resident Trump supporters have dates tonight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. DrDaveT says:

    Charles Krauthammer makes an excellent point

    Wow, the miracles just keep coming…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  21. Yank says:

    @MarkedMan: It is all about the GOP’s legislative agenda. Both Ryan and McConnell are both smart enough to realize that if Trump goes down then their agenda goes with him. An investigation and potential impeachment proceedings would bring Congress to a halt (this is one reason why Ford ended up pardoning Nixon.) and on top of that you don’t want your party standard bearer facing impeachment proceedings in an election year.

    But, I think both McConnell and Ryan are making a serious mistake by backing Trump, especially if they don’t know what they are exactly giving Trump a pass for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Yank:

    An investigation and potential impeachment proceeding

    I agree with you there. These Republican eunuchs have no stomach for impeachment. But why are they actively defending him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. rachel says:

    @MarkedMan: The RNC’s servers were hacked too…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Yank says:

    I agree with you there. These Republican eunuchs have no stomach for impeachment. But why are they actively defending him?

    I think it is because most of them are just not that smart. Granted, McConnell is a smart pol and handles the Trump screw ups better then all of them by not saying much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. JohnMcC says:

    @DrDaveT: Indeed! I had caught the Krauthammer piece that is quoted in the Original Post before Mr Mataconis pasted it here. Can’t believe I read it through twice now, nodding approval as I read, and it’s frigging KRAUTHAMMER! I have become a fanboy of Jennifer Rubin at the WaPo! I look forward to David Frum’s pieces in The Atlantic. Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt on MSNBC are almost always worth paying attention to.

    Overall, the right wing has failed badly in this present crisis; Republicans will have to wear the shame of having become collaborators and quislings. But a few have really stood up remarkably. They should be recognized.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  26. Guarneri says:

    I guess you guys are right. And CNN has the goods on him. Dead on. Trump gets two scoops of ice cream. Not only that, it’s vanilla. The racist pig. Further, an “unnamed source” says Trump used to own stock in the ice cream company 25 years ago, proving that he is engaged in self dealing for serving ice cream at official events.

    It’s horrible. Impeach him now.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 17

  27. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: If this were a LeCarre novel, everyone would be chasing the money, but the ultimate answer would be something deeply personal… like the Russians having evidence that Ivanka is Barron’s mother…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  28. wr says:

    @Guarneri: Wow, that’s pathetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  29. Guarneri says:

    @wr:

    I try to adapt to my environment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Guarneri:

    It’s horrible. Impeach him now.

    Oh no, dear boy, you don’t get surgery for this self-inflicted cancer on the GOP

    He stays right where he is. This one will be cured by killing its host

    :-)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But why are they actively defending him?

    Because they are terrified of the babbleverse that they created, forever angry and forever aggrieved. The simple truth is that modern Republicans are more afraid of primary challenges from the right than they are of the consequences of not governing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  32. CSK says:

    The noose appears to be tightening around Manafort’s neck. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that in April, the DOJ asked Citizen Financial Group, Inc. for his banking records. (This after having gotten the Cypress banking records in March.)

    As soon as he left the Trump campaign, he formed a shell corporation and took out $13 million in loans from Trump-connected businesses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Yep. Manafort is more interesting than Flynn. Manafort is the Russian money launderer. The money laundering is the initial event, I believe. From that came Putin’s control over Trump. From that in turn came the conspiracy to elect him. And by the way, this all involves Kushner, too.

    As for Flynn I think he’s just a paranoid, spiteful guy who lost his mind when Obama fired him. So he decoded to turn international whore and work for Erdogan and Putin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  34. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As an interesting side note, I read today–I believe at the AP site–that one of Trump’s most trusted advisors, alongside Ivanka and Jared, is his longtime…bodyguard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I’ll tell you what happened. Normally, see, Guarneri keeps his head firmly stuck in the sand, but as a former finance guy he still reads the Wall Street Journal. And yesterday the WSJ had some pretty good scoops about Russiagate. Guarneri would have seen them. He’s dim, but not so dim he doesn’t recognize that front page scoops in the WSJ are important – to the country club buffoons he hangs out with.

    So Guarneri feels a little. . . frisson. His state of denial took a little hit, a small wound was inflicted. Now, he worries that even the hairy-eared old white guys at the country club might be talking about this thing Guarneri has been dismissing. He seizes on the ice cream story, because that’s the story he’ll tell to his pals. That’s his role, I assume: clown. I’ve never believed Guarneri was anything more than the Wal-Mart greeter of high finance, the guffawing glad-hander; the Ehrlich Bachman, if I may drop a Silicon Valley reference.

    Coming here is his version of whistling past the graveyard. You can smell the flop sweat coming off these people now. It’s like the ripple of fear the orc army feel at Helm’s Deep when they look up and see the Riders of Rohan. They’ve gone from, “This’ll be great, I can laugh at liberals!” to, “OMG, liberals are laughing at me!” Just 112 short days.

    Impeach? Nah, we want to bleed Trump for a while yet. It’s entertaining watching the Great White Hope flail, and fail and tweet imbecilities. 112 days in and Trump is already walking away with the title of worst president of modern times.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  36. Mikey says:

    @CSK: I assume that’s the same longtime bodyguard they had walk the Comey firing letters up the street to JEH?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    Yep, it is the same person. Apparently he’s also one of Trump’s “policy wonks.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. CSK says:

    According to the NYTimes, Comey says he will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but only at a public hearing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  39. rachel says:

    @CSK: Interesting. I wonder why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. CSK says:

    @rachel:

    I assume because if it’s public, everyone will get to hear what he says when he says it, rather than having the testimony leak out in dribs and drabs. It’s a smart move from his standpoint.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  41. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds: Actually, Guarneri reminds me of middle school when many of us lads were convinced that all dirty jokes, no matter how lame or witless, were the most awesome, transgressive humor in the world and that simply repeating them confirmed our badass status.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  42. dazedandconfused says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Impeach? Nah, we want to bleed Trump for a while yet. It’s entertaining watching the Great White Hope flail, and fail and tweet imbecilities. 112 days in and Trump is already walking away with the title of worst president of modern times.

    Indeed, impeachment has likely become an unmentionable wish of the smarter right wing guys already. Krauthammer and co are smart enough to see Pence would be a far better POTUS, and his best-if-used-by date is early in 2018. I may not agree with much Krauthammer says but he possesses an impressive intellect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  43. Barry says:

    @dazedandconfused: “I may not agree with much Krauthammer says but he possesses an impressive intellect.”

    I disagree. Krauthammer is a guy who *sounds* smart, and doesn’t have anything else. Note that the quoted column is merely common sense, which has been pointed out by people ever since the firing.

    What’s significant about it is the ‘rats leaving a sinking ship’ principle. Krauthammer is admitting that Trump has clearly done a Nixon-level impeachable offense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  44. Barry says:

    @dazedandconfused: “Krauthammer and co are smart enough to see Pence would be a far better POTUS, and his best-if-used-by date is early in 2018.”

    Adding on to my thesis that Krauthammer is rather dim, *if* – a yuge if :) – Trump was impeached, Pence would assume office as the first Gerald Ford of the 21st century. The amount of sh*t needed to come out to cause an impeachment would take the GOP down with him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  45. teve tory says:

    Think about it: the President of the United States is threatening to blackmail the former chief of the nation’s top domestic law enforcement agency in an attempt to shut him up.

    Maybe Trump is bluffing, which would be outrageous enough. But what if he’s telling the truth? We have no way of knowing. Now, every single man or woman who goes into the White House to converse with him now has to worry that the president is secretly recording their conversation, and has no scruples against using what is said to blackmail them. What say you, Sen. Mitch McConnell? What say you, CIA director Mike Pompeo?

    This is banana republic stuff. This man is out of control. How can we have a functioning government if the President feels entitled to threaten blackmail, and every single official who meets with him in the White House has to worry that they’re being bugged, and that words they say in confidence could be used against them?

    Note well that Trump manufactured this crisis out of his own ineptitude and corruption.

    Congress is going to have to impeach him to protect the integrity of our Constitutional order. The House impeached Clinton for lying under oath (though the Senate did not convict). Now we have a sitting president threatening blackmail against the FBI director he fired. This, only four months into the president’s administration. Mind-boggling. But here we are. If this is not a bright red line, what is?

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-blackmail-comey/

    Since deep down republicans care about the Rule of Law the same amount as they care about the deficit, I doubt they’ll do anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. Kylopod says:

    @dazedandconfused: @Barry: Over the years, Krauthammer has for the most part acted as a party hack. Before the Trump era, his default position in nearly all his columns was to slam Democrats and praise Republicans, sometimes twisting himself into a pretzel for the task.

    For me, the most incredible example of this were his columns on embryonic stem-cell research throughout the 2000s. Krauthammer, it turns out, actually supports the federal funding of such research. But you really need to read between the lines of his columns on the subject before figuring this out, because he spent most of these columns praising Bush to high heaven and, later, bashing Obama, despite the fact that he supposedly agreed with Obama’s decision and disagreed with Bush’s. The overwhelming message of these columns was that Bush approached the issue in a thoughtful and nuanced manner, whereas Obama resorted to cliche and strawman.

    That’s the way Krauthammer deals with virtually every topic: it seems that the thing that matters to him most isn’t to make a case for or against a particular policy, but to argue that Republicans are honorable and Democrats are scum. It is party propaganda disguised as character analysis.

    Like his colleague George Will, Krauthammer is often presented as a Reasonable Conservative mostly because he eschews conspiracy theories (if you don’t consider global warming denial to be in effect a conspiracy theory) and adopts the veneer of an intellectual. So it’s not surprising he’d be slow to warm to Trump. Also like Will, he has spent much of Obama’s presidency bizarrely accusing Obama of being a raging narcissist, propagating the debunked urban legend that Obama excessively uses the pronoun “I”–an argument that, in light of Trump’s rise, looks even more idiotic now than it did the first time around.

    Unlike Will, however (who’s more a conservative ideologue than a party hack), Krauthammer has no prior history of failing to support the GOP nominee and no prior history of attacking a sitting Republican president. When he finally got around to endorsing Hillary last year, it was the worst endorsement of all time, as The New Republic put it.

    It makes sense, in a way, that he’d openly wish for the removal of Trump so that the presidency would pass to Pence (or, in a more extreme scenario, to Ryan, the true wet dream of Beltway conservatives). It’s hard to imagine he can stand continuing to be in the position of GOP critic. It’s just not in his nature.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Mikey says:

    @teve tory:

    Since deep down republicans care about the Rule of Law the same amount as they care about the deficit, I doubt they’ll do anything.

    I doubt it, too. The modern GOP is, with vanishingly few exceptions, all about party over country. They’re so convinced of their own rightness that they believe their desired ends justify any means necessary to achieve.

    In a sane America, people would understand Comey’s actions regarding Clinton are independent of the horrendous abuse of power Trump applied in firing him, and would be pushing for an independent investigation. But we don’t have a sane America anymore, and it’s the Republicans who took us around the bend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kylopod:

    Thanks for that. Answers Barry for me well. It’s that kind of stuff which reveals the depth of intellect I was referring to. It takes far less to be a ideologue like Will. In Krauthammer’s stuff it’s possible to see where he knows he is BSing to keep the paycheck rolling in, he’s quite clever.

    Barry, Krauthammer is choosing the least worst of two bad options and Pence has a better chance of preventing the disaster that 2018 shaping up to be for the GOP than Trump does IMO. Perhaps in yours as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0