Narratives are busting all over the place today, not the least of which is President Trump totally undercutting his own administration's now-expired account of how the Comey firing came about. A White House spokeswoman and the Vice President had stated on-the-record that it was the Assistant Attorney General's independent assessment that triggered Trump's decision, with sources telling reporters that the chronology was all about proper protocol. Then Trump showed up on NBC News and told the world that he was planning to fire that "showboat" Comey anyway, regardless of what Rod Rosenstein concluded in his review. Huh. Depending on whom you believe, Rosenstein -- a respected figure across party lines -- was either so furious that the termination decision was pinned on him that he threatened to resign, or that's just another piece of fake news. And either Comey (who reportedly started taking daily briefings on the Russia investigation a few weeks back, as he became more concerned that information about "possible evidence of collusion" might exist) told Trump and others that the president wasn't a target of the probe, or he didn't.
Lots of confusion and conflicting stories. Speaking of which, remember yesterday's suspicious-seeming quasi-bombshell that Comey had requested additional resources for the Russia investigation just days before getting canned? Multiple news sources reported it, apparently based on some solid information, but DOJ flatly denied it. In testimony today, Comey's interim successor (whose wife was a Democratic state senate candidate two years ago) stated that (a) the probe enjoys adequate resources, (b) he was unaware of any Comey request, and (c) things don't really work like that anyway:
McCabe: "I strongly believe the Russia investigation is adequately resourced."— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) May 11, 2017
McCabe says he's not aware of Comey requesting more resources for the Russia case. "We don't typically request resources for an indiv case."— David Freddoso (@freddoso) May 11, 2017
Well. This casts doubt on a major Trump-negative story from yesterday, and offers some significant evidence that Comey's dismissal hasn't derailed or influenced an ongoing, politically-sensitive investigation. The Russia probe has the resources it needs, and isn't getting the squeeze. And then there's this:
Acting FBI Director - a Democrat - just told Senate there has been no effort to impede the Russia investigation and its work continues.— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) May 11, 2017
That's reassuring, given that maintaining the integrity of that investigation was one of my paramount concerns after the Comey news broke. Whether its independence remains intact in the longer run could very well depend on the person who is tapped to permanently replace Comey, which is why that decision is so important. That seems to be a consensus view on the left and right. We mentioned a few names being floated around, but this here's an interesting one:
Instead of a special prosecutor, @realDonaldTrump should nominate Merrick Garland to replace James Comey.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) May 11, 2017
Lee's office insists it's not trolling. Senate Democrats love Garland, who was a prosecutor earlier in his career. A liberal Senator from a blue state has already given her thumbs-up to the idea, which would have the bonus side effect of opening up a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which Obama and Reid stacked after detonating the 2013 nuclear option. It's intriguing, even if it remains far-fetched. Then again, it's 2017. Anything is possible.