One thing about the Trump administration is that it doesn’t seem to plan too far ahead. Another thing is that everyone in it is constantly leaking snarky details about their colleagues to reporters. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Politico, and the New York Times have thus blessed us with a cornucopia of details about President Trump’s spontaneous, chaos-inducing decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, which was seemingly induced by Comey’s insistence on investigating Trump’s Russia ties but is being pinned officially (and unconvincingly) on his handling of the Clinton email case. Here are the best 10 details from these chronicles of madness.
10. Comey has been telling people that Trump is a lunatic. New York Times:
After President Trump accused his predecessor in March of wiretapping him, James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, was flabbergasted. The president, Mr. Comey told associates, was “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.”
9. Comey has big plans for his life post-FBI. Washington Post:
He was observed puttering in his yard at his home in Northern Virginia on Wednesday.
8. LOL. Washington Post:
When asked Tuesday night for an update on the unfolding situation, one top White House aide simply texted a reporter two fireworks emoji.
7. One of the people who told Trump to fire Comey was Roger Stone, a former Richard Nixon operative who is under FBI investigation himself. New York Times:
Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime informal adviser to Mr. Trump who has been under F.B.I. scrutiny as part of the Russia inquiry, was among those who urged the president to fire Mr. Comey, people briefed on the discussions said.
(Stone and Trump have denied this, but it’s also been reported by Politico.)
6. The White House says newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey’s firing to Trump on his own initiative—but not only is that not what happened, Rosenstein is so unhappy that the firing is being pinned on him that he’s threatened to quit. Washington Post:
In the [Monday] meeting, several White House officials said Trump gave Sessions and Rosenstein a directive: to explain in writing the case against Comey.
Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation, said the person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
5. One of the reasons Trump doesn’t like Comey is that Comey wouldn’t use the imprimatur of the FBI to endorse Trump’s impulsive, paranoid tweets. Washington Post:
Trump was angry that Comey would not support his baseless claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped.
4. Trump is also mad that the FBI won’t investigate his staff for gossiping to reporters about nonclassified information. Washington Post:
Administration officials sometimes sought to push the FBI to prioritize leak probes over the Russia interference case, and at other times urged the bureau to investigate disclosures of information that was not classified or highly sensitive and therefore did not constitute crimes, these people said.
3. Comey was canned shortly after asking for more resources to investigate Russiagate. New York Times:
Days before he was fired as F.B.I. director, James B. Comey asked the Justice Department for more prosecutors and other personnel to accelerate the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.
2. One reason he might have done this is that he’s seen possible evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter and the progress of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. Mr. Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion, according to these people.
1. This was all put into motion by an old man shouting at his television. Politico:
[Trump] repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.
Fun times in the USA!