"This season of 'The Apprentice' has been AMAZING." - Ben Shapiro
Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson was correct when he said you could hear the pause in Washington D.C. while everyone waited for their talking points on the news of FBI Director James Comey's firing. You could see it play out in real time as Stephen Colbert told his audience the news:
By the way, that is the worst impression of President Donald Trump. Colbert should stick to his impressions of Bill O'Reilly.
But you could see from Colbert's audience that they cheered the news of the demise of Hillary Clinton's enemy, and therefore the enemy of all good Colbert fans everywhere. On the other hand, it was something done by Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, therefore it was bad, very bad. It's so confusing to them.
Finally the Democrats went with their default mode, which is to attack the president and assume something nefarious is going on. Now there has to be a special prosecutor to look into the administration's ties to Russia during last fall's political campaign, according to the Democrats. And they're aided by how badly the White House has handled the situation.
Let's start with the ridiculous letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to Sessions giving the reasons for Comey's firing. Does anyone in the White House seriously expect that the public believes, or should believe, that Comey was fired because of the way he went public with news that the investigation into Clinton's emails was reopened?
Concerning his letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, the Director cast his decision as a choice between whether he would "speak" about the decision to investigate the newly-discovered email messages or "conceal" it. "Conceal" is a loaded term that misstates the issue. When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.
Somebody needs to tell the Trump Administration that only a few states have legalized marijuana, and it's going to take a lot of dope-smoking before someone believes the letter. It reads like Stannis Baratheon dictating the letter declaring his legal claim to the throne of Westeros, except Stannis signed that letter personally while Trump's people put Rosenstein's name on it.
The White House seemed genuinely surprised by the reaction to the Comey firing, and they made the situation worse by sending Kellyanne Conway out to defend the administration's position that the firing was supposed to restore the integrity of the FBI. That interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN was priceless as an example of ineffective damage control.
The other question is, why now? There was nothing in the letter or in Trump's letter firing Comey that indicated something had changed that required the immediate firing of Comey. If Comey's conduct during the last election really was a concern to Trump, Comey could have been fired the day Trump took office. Comey could have, and should have, been told during the transition to start boxing up his things.
Instead, the need to fire Comey became so urgent that it wasn't even done in person. Unlike the 18 days it took fire General Michael Flynn, Trump's team fired Comey before he could return to Washington D.C. from a brief trip to Los Angeles. The firing wasn't even done over the phone and Comey found out he was fired because it was flashed on a television screen behind him while he was speaking.
So everyone legitimately is wondering, what was so urgent that Comey had to be fired right at that moment, right as news was breaking about subpoenas being issued in the Flynn investigation? Was the administration afraid that Comey was suddenly going to start talking about that investigation, too?
Now we're waiting to see what happens next. Will Trump be forced to name a special prosecutor to investigate his campaign's ties to Russia? Will there be a special commission?
And who will Trump name as the next FBI Director? Normally when someone is fired from an administration, there are at least a couple of names being floated as possible replacements by insiders. Instead, the media is just guessing, which is obvious by the ridiculous mentions of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.
Regardless, the Wisconsin congressional delegation has so far been relatively quiet with the exception of Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, perhaps waiting to see what happens next. That's appropriate at this stage because until the administration better explains itself, the real reasons for Comey's firing are unknown. If Trump and his staff do not come out with a better explanation soon, congress is going to have demand one.