While the company line coming out of the White House has been that now former FBI Director James Comey was fired due to his actions surrounding the Hillary Clinton email probe — specifically those actions that occurred last summer — President Trump’s initial public remarks reflected a much broader view.
When asked by pool reporters in the Oval Office while sat beside former Nixon administration official Henry Kissinger (yes, you read that correctly), Trump said that Comey was fired because he, “wasn’t doing a good job.” That’s a bit more present tense than the memorandum from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that led Trump to can the man overseeing the agency that was in charge of an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election.
Could this just be TrumpSpeak, though? The President does speak in bigly and over-simplified terms quite often. Maybe this was that. Or, maybe the comments lend credence to the notion that Comey got iced for being uncomfortably dogged in his pursuit of the truth in the Russian matter. It’s not hard to assume how it will be received by the President’s critics and another fast-breaking story certainly adds more intrigue and suspicion to a situation that hardly needs the help.
According to the New York Times, Comey met with Rosenstein prior to his dismissal and asked that more resources (in terms of funds and personnel) be funneled into the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 election.
The paper is citing three unnamed officials, so the Trump administration will likely deny and poo poo the allegations — and the DOJ did just that while telling CNBC that the report was false. However, CNBC spoke to “a senior congressional official with direct knowledge of the matter,” who said that Comey divulged his funds request to some members of Congress.
Regardless of whether these reports are true, accusations will still up-tease the tension in Washington while raising even more questions about the motives behind Comey’s firing. They’ll also probably be a part of the playlist during a future congressional hearing on the timing and cause for Comey’s dismissal. But that’s a long ways away and, right now, Comey is out of a job, the force and independence of the FBI’s investigation into Russian election tampering is in doubt, and Donald Trump is once again waiting for the outrage to recede without real consequence so that he can move on to the next bit of business.