An Aside: Trump #1: Excuses for Firing the FBI Director

A vast amount has already been posted on-line and written in the press about Donald Trump’s essentially unprecedented firing of the FBI Director, James Comey.  I simply want to comment on one rejoinder put forward by Donald Trump and his supporters:  you (Democrats) didn’t like Comey;  you thought he had behaved inappropriately when investigating Hilary Clinton:  you thought he cost Clinton the election;  how hypocritical then to criticise Donald Trump for doing what you, at least implicitly, were arguing should be done:  sacking Mr Comey.  Mmm.  Superficially it sounds as if Donald Trump may have a point.  On closer inspection the response displays the usual mendacity typical of just about everything that man says and does.

The rejoinder conflates and muddles (wilfully no doubt) three distinct questions:  (i) what did people want done about Mr Comey?  (ii) what should have been done about Mr Comey? and (iii) what were Donald Trump’s reasons for doing what he did about Mr Comey?

Even if Democrats (and Republicans) had wanted to see the back of Mr Comey, that does not mean that the firing was justified and appropriate.  Ends do not justify means.  There are laws and established ways of doing things.  There is such a thing as due process.  There are wider considerations which a president should take into account.  [And, of course, who in their right mind would believe that Donald Trump ever does anything to please his opponents?  Opponents are to be sneered at, insulted and undermined.]

Critically, Trump’s reasons for firing Mr Comey are a distinct issue, a proper matter of inquiry and a proper matter for criticism if they were inappropriate.  The incoherent and inconsistent explanations given by the White House leave little doubt that Mr Comey was fired because he had upset Trump by saying things Trump did not like and/or because Mr Comey was vigourously pursuing an investigation into links between the Trump campaign for the presidency and Russia.  Either reason is scandalous.