Mark Finkelstein at Legal Insurrection has a bit of the entirely deranged fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey:
On CNN this morning, [Jason] Johnson—of Univision-owned The Root—speaking of the Comey firing, declared ‘this is how democracy dies.’ He said of the current situation that it is ‘no longer a functioning democracy,’ adding the obligatory ‘this is a constitutional and sovereignty crisis.
“A Constitutional and sovereignty crisis?” Does Johnson have any idea of the content of the Constitution, or the definition of sovereignty? Johnson seems to be referring to the separation of powers, and another talking head, CNN’s Ron Brownstein, tried to bail him out:
RON BROWNSTEIN: I think the more evidence we have, the more clear it was that the only thing that is really relevant here is that the president fired the senior law enforcement official leading the investigation into the conduct of his campaign in 2016 and whether it colluded with the Russians…This is a president who simply is systematically committed to delegitimizing and undermining any institution that he believes can check or challenge him… how does the political system respond? Does it have the will to defend the traditional checks and balances that have constrained the arbitrary exercise of presidential power?
We have entered the age of the insupportable media assertion. Whatever wild claim they make about President Trump’s acts, or even his present, or possible future, intentions, is, because the media utters it, true, and actual supporting evidence is beside the point, indeed unnecessary because Trump. The more prima facie absurd the assertion, the more loudly and repeatedly it is trumpeted. Despite such non-confirmed, insupportable, blatantly false assertions being the very denotation of fake news, the mere fact the media say it is not fake news means it is true, because who yah gonna believe? The media, with its layers and layers of editors and fact checkers, or guys like me in their pajamas sitting in their living rooms writing scruffy little blogs like this? And of course, because TRUMP!
Let us review this situation. The first, and most important principle to remember is the Constitution gives the President—even Donald Trump—the unfettered authority to fire the Director of the FBI for any reason or no reason, and at any time. There is no requirement such a person be given a two week notice or afforded any other nicety. Might Mr. Trump have asked for Comey’s resignation, and fired him if refused? of course, but would this, for a moment, have caused the media and Democrats to have lauded Mr. Trump, or to proceed with less venom? Would they have said: “oh well then. That’s OK?”
Perhaps Johnson and Brownstein are suggesting because the FBI might be investigating Mr. Trump relating to the Democrat’s specious Russia/collusion narrative, firing the FBI director must be an attempt to halt the investigation, a cover-up. While there are indications in investigation of some kind has been undertaken, we have no indication Mr. Trump is the subject of it. In fact, there is to date no indication of a single crime to cover up. Everyone in a position to know—in intelligence and law enforcement–has clearly said there is no evidence of such collusion. Several Congressional investigations into what appears, after some nine months, to be an entirely false and politically motivated narrative, are ongoing and will continue unabated, and the ouster of Mr. Comey does not automatically stop any investigation—which does not appear to actually exist—relating to Mr. Trump or anyone associated with him. The current interim director of the FBI–Andrew McCabe–is a committed Democrat whose wife has close ties to Terry McAuliffe, a close confident of the Clintons. He has confirmed that Comey’s departure will have no effect on this or any other investigation. In addition,there is every indication Mr. Trump is seeking to appoint to the Directorship of the FBI a non-partisan figure beyond ethical reproach who certainly may pursue any wild goose chase investigation he wishes in regard to Mr. Trump.
How then, does Mr. Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey add up to the doom of democracy or a violation of the Constitution in fact or even in spirit?
But what about the timing?! What if Trump wanted to fire Comey rather than just taking the unsolicited advice of the new Deputy Attorney General? Mr. Trump has publically said he did wish to fire Comey. Again, Any president may fire any FBI director for any reason and at any time. But, but… Any president may fire any FBI director for any reason and at any time. Remember, gentle readers, it was the Democrats that have been demanding Comey’s head since his Hillary Clinton press conference. Now that Mr. Trump has agreed, rather than acknowledging his reaching across the aisle to embrace their goal, they have turned on him and canonized Comey.
For the sake of argument, let’s address Mr. Brownstein’s assertions. Is Mr. Trump “delegitimizing and undermining any institution that he believes can check or challenge him?” No. Has Mr. Trump done anything unconstitutional? No. Illegal? No. Unethical? No. Is replacing the FBI director interfering with an investigation of Mr. Trump, which appears not to exist? No. Would it prevent a future investigation should evidence exist to justify it? No.
Granted, Mr. Trump’s action gives the Democrats and media—I know: I repeat myself—an excuse to attack him and raise insupportable wails about the doom of Democracy, but Mr. Trump’s mere existence does that. Let’s continue with Mr. Brownstein.
Has Mr. Trump violated the separation—the balance—of powers? Any president may fire any FBI director for any reason and at any time. His actions do not approach any separation of powers issue; they do not touch upon the lawful power or prerogatives of the legislative or judicial branches. Is this “an arbitrary exercise of presidential power?” Any president may fire any FBI director for any reason and at any time. Would any other time have provoked less outrage from Democrats and the Media? Would it have provided a lesser opportunity to attack Mr. Trump? Would it have prevented Democrats from beating the apparently dead horse of the Russian/Collusion narrative? How could Mr. Trump have behaved in a way that they would have interpreted as non-arbitrary, arbitrary, in their lights, being defined as anything with which they disagree, or with which they might make political hay?
Let’s return to Mr. Johnson’s suggestion that this is a “sovereignty crisis.” Obviously sovereignty, by any rational definition of the term, is not involved. As Mr. Brownstein seemed to understand, Johnson appeared to be suggesting Mr. Trump’s action somehow touched upon the powers and prerogatives of the legislative or judicial branches, but I’ve already demonstrated that assertion is, at best, mistaken.
Let’s take one final look at this issue, in the words of James Comey, who sent a farewell communication to the employees of the FBI. Fox News reports:
I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.
Mr. Comey surely believes “a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all,” because a president can, in fact and in law, do just that. Even if Mr. Comey didn’t believe it, it would be no less true and lawful. Perhaps Misters Johnson and Brownstein might pay attention to Mr. Comey’s words?
What we appear to have in Mr. Trump is a man used to hard work in the real world, the private sector, a world where one performs or one seeks new employment opportunities, where party doesn’t matter—character, ability and results do. It’s a world where fortunes are made through results, not excuses or lies. Competence talks; bullshit walks. At its foundation, that’s what happened to Mr. Comey. That’s why Mr. Trump was elected. That’s why the Media/Democrats have no idea of the lives of actual Americans, no caring about them, and an inexhaustible reserve of contempt for them. Perhaps they should seek to understand the God and gun clingers in light of the utter failure of their ideology and candidates in 2016?
But no. We live in the age of the insupportable Media assertion. While they and their Democrat soul mates wail, gnash their teeth and rend their garments, most Americans in the desolate wasteland of flyover country merely shake their heads in disgust. We, gentle readers, live in the real world where leaders lead from the front, incompetence has consequences, the rule of law matters, and so does the truth.
We won’t be getting it from the media.