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Does the political class know the Russia investigation will go forward without Comey?
Or does that even matter because it's all about "optics"?
Something is seriously off in all the hysteria about the Comey firing. Try to follow the logic with me now:
The media/left/political class/Democrats wants us to believe that all the stated reasons for the firing were an obvious distraction, and the real reason Trump fired Comey was to head off the Russia investigation. There was even a story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal reporting that Comey had been getting daily briefings on the matter, and that he was becoming concerned about evidence there was indeed some collusion.
Now I trust the WSJ a lot more than I trust, say, the Worst Web Site in the World, but we're still talking about claims from anonymous sources who may or may not have their own agendas or axes to grind, and can't be held to account for the things they're saying because we don't know who they are. So take all of this under advisement as you always should.
But let's say for the sake of discussion that there really is something to this, contrary to what I have tended to suspect and still do suspect. Let's say the FBI has indeed found some evidence that Paul Manafort or someone else connected to the Trump campaign was collaborating with the Russians, and that this looks really bad for Trump. Let's even say it could become impeachment-level bad.
So the proposition we're being asked to buy is that, because of all this, Trump fired Comey. And that's what makes it Watergate II.
You realize the problem with all this, right? Trump firing Comey doesn't change a thing.
The agents working the Russia case on Tuesday are still working it today. They'll be working it next week, probably under the supervision of the same assistant director they've had over them since the beginning. The Senate Intelligence Committee will be getting the same briefings from the same people. The information they get will be the same whether Comey is there or not.
Maybe the political class thinks Trump's game is to appoint a new FBI director who will squelch the Russia thing on orders from Trump and Jeff Sessions. If they think that, they're a lot dumber than they think Trump is. There are Democrat senators who get regular briefings on this. They know what has or hasn't been uncovered. Even if Trump could get a lackey confirmed by the Senate who was willing to play that game, he couldn't possibly cover up the already-discovered information he supposedly fears so much. Pissed off FBI agents would leak it. In-the-know senators would talk about it.
And if all that started happening, then this really would become Watergate II, because now we'd be dealing with a ham-handed coverup attempt that not only failed miserably but added on to the seriousness of the original offense.
So in summary, if Trump was really afraid of the Russia investigation and he wanted to find a way to make it go away, he couldn't have picked a worse way to try to do it than to fire James Comey. Not only does that not do anything to slow down or muffle the investigation, but it would now introduce all the new issues I just laid out.
Then again, if Trump knows there is nothing to the Russia thing, and he believed Comey should be fired for other reasons, then he risks no serious long-term damage from making the move.
So I guess this really comes down to whether you think Trump has a brain in his head. Official Washington seems to think Trump is so erratic and reckless that he would make a move that does him absolutely no good, and brings all kinds of heat on him, just out of anger and frustration.
I suppose if you're predisposed to think the worst of Donald Trump in every situation, you're quick to believe this narrative too. But if you give it any thought whatsoever, you realize it doesn't make a lick of sense at all.
Then again, maybe the political class understands all this perfectly well, but what they're counting on is that you won't.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!