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He Can't Fire Everyone

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I am tempted to write: If President Donald Trump is hoping that the effect of firing James Comey as Director of the FBI will be to diminish the Bureau's zeal to investigate his and/or his associates' ties to Russia, he is going to be disappointed.

And, maybe impeached.

However, as many of you point out twice weekly, my predictive skills have been shown to be horribly lacking over the past 18 months, I will not venture into that territory.

I will write that I truly believe President Trump awoke one recent morning - maybe as early as over the weekend - and decided that Comey had to go or this investigation might spin out of control and he would never be rid of it.

I believe it was Trump's admiration for autocrats - Russia's Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Turkish President Recep Erdogan to name a few - that caused him to ax Comey.

Just as Trump, born in the borough of Queens, spent an inordinate amount of time, energy and money proving to Manhattanites that he was one of them, he feels the need to show those strongman leaders that he is one of them.

The issue is: No one cares. Except Trump. But he cares a lot.

I am not going to defend the actions and statements of James Comey. I'm not at all sure, if I were advising him last year, that I wouldn't have pulled the microphone plug out when he did that presser about not prosecuting Hillary over her emails even though she had been exceptionally stupid in the way she handled them.

Once he did that, the letter to Congress about the Huma Abedin/Carlos Danger emails was inevitable.

As we have said here many times: (1) The race should never have been so close that Comey could alter the outcome and (2) If she had not tried to be too clever by a whole (twice as dumb as being too clever by half) none of it would have ever come up.

But, that's not what happened on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the President of the United States fired - or caused to be fired - the Director of the FBI. No matter what blather is coming out of the White House about why and why now, the answer is clear: Trump wants to quash the investigation(s) into the Russian Connection.

I know, I know that Trump claims Comey told him three times - THREE TIMES, Mrs. Bueller - that he was not the subject of any investigations, but you never know where these trails will lead.

Trump may think that the trail may lead to his sons. Or Daughter. Or business associates. Or political operatives. Or current members of the White House Staff. Or … to the Oval.

I am old enough to remember the original Saturday Night Massacre.

This ain't that.

In that event, a special prosecutor (Archibald Cox) had already been appointed, had been working, had been closing in on Nixon, and wanted the audio tapes of Nixon's Oval Office discussions.

Nixon ordered Cox to accept summaries of the tapes. Cox refused. Nixon ordered, first the AG (Elliot Richardson) to fire him, but Richardson resigned. Then ordered the Deputy AG to fire him (William Ruckelshaus) to fire him and when he refused, Nixon fired him.

Finally, the Solicitor General - some guy named Robert Bork - did the deed.

In the end, a replacement for Cox was appointed, Leon Jaworski, who proceeded along the same lines as his predecessor, won a ruling in the Supreme Court that Nixon had to hand over the tapes, and Nixon ultimately resigned.

As I said above, the current situation with Trump isn't anywhere NEAR that.

Trump ordered Comey to be fired but forgot that this was not a reality show. We didn't run to the bathroom before the next program started on NBC.

There are multiple investigations going on. Justice Department, House, Senate, maybe a State Attorney General or two. We know at least one Federal grand jury has been empaneled; subpoenas have been issued by the Department of Justice.

The House and Senate have multiple committees at various stages of work. At least one - the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - has issued subpoenas for documents from Michael Flynn after Flynn refused to voluntarily offer them up.

Trump fired Comey to try and change the subject, but he can't fire everyone who is seeking information from all of his tangled relationships.

This is going to grind on.

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