Two months ago on March 20th, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI had been investigating Trump and his possible connections to Russia since June of 2016, specifically investigating whether Trump colluded with Russian intelligence to try and win the election. Comey confirmed with complete certainty that Russia was tampered with the election in favour of Trump, but the FBI was unsure if Trump knew about this and colluded with Russian intelligence.
It’s now May, and the White House has announced that they are firing James Comey from his position as FBI Director, and whoever they appoint to run the FBI will be in control of the Trump-Russia investigation. Richard Nixon acted very similarly in 1973, when he fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox who was spearheading the investigation into the Watergate scandal. There has been no president since Nixon that has fired a government official who was in control of an investigation into the President himself, but Trump has officially broken that streak.
So, what’s the ‘official’ reason Trump fired Comey? Trump offered two primary reasons for firing Comey, the first is a blatant lie and the latter is very concerning. The first reason is that Trump believes James Comey mishandled the Hillary email investigation by publicizing it unnecessarily and one mistake in particular where Comey said they had ‘hundreds of thousands’ of emails from a discarded Anthony Weiner laptop, which the FBI later corrected to just ‘a few’ emails- Trump believed this to be a demonstration of incompetence. The second reason provided by Trump was that Comey had thrice informed him that there was not an ongoing investigation of Trump, which is either a lie from Trump to assuage investigation fears or a lie from Comey to continue the investigation without Trump obstruction.
You can prove the first reason as a lie by simply looking at what Trump said on the campaign trail and in the White House- Trump loved Comey and how he handled Hillary’s emails investigation. Last October, Trump said “it took guts” for Comey to renew the Clinton email investigation. On January 22nd, Trump hugged Comey during a White House meeting and said with a chuckle, “He’s become more famous than me.” On April 12th, Trump said he had confidence in Comey. On May 3rd, White House press secretary Sean Spicer reiterated that Comey had Trump’s support.
Trump loved Comey up until recently, so what caused the reversal? Trump’s second reason easily explains why: Trump is uncomfortable with the fact that James Comey and the FBI investigation may find damning evidence showing Trump cooperated with Russian intelligence to win the 2016 elections. As it became clear that Comey was investigation. Trump was certain up until May that his cover was clear, that no one could possibly know of ‘alleged’ collaboration, but once the FBI’s investigation began to pick up steam Trump decided to obstruct and slow down the investigation by firing its leader- James Comey.
Trump is working actively to obstruct the FBI investigation into his Russian connections and it’s extremely Nixonian- Nixon fired most of the top officials investigating him on the Saturday Night Massacre, and Trump is following in a similar fashion. Starting with Comey, he is actualizing his plans to disarm his investigators and leave them without the right tools or personnel to properly investigate his likely collusion with the Russian intelligence community.