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Trumpniks have no defense for the James Comey mess, so duh, they’re blaming the media – A N I T H
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Trumpniks have no defense for the James Comey mess, so duh, they’re blaming the media

Trumpniks have no defense for the James Comey mess, so duh, they’re blaming the media


A caricature of Trump from a peaceful protest march on the White House the day after President Trump unexpectedly fired Director of the FBI, James Comey

Image: Middlebrook/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

Trump supporters are taking a page out of the president’s own playbook—when you’re out of moves, blame the media.

And that’s just what they’re doing in the wake of Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Comey’s dismissal kicked off a firestorm of criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans. Trump associates had been the subject of an ongoing (and reportedly escalating) investigation into ties to Russia—an investigation that dogged Trump and had fueled questions of the president’s own connections with the country. Russia, of course, has been accused by U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies of working to swing the 2016 election by leaking private documents and disseminating of propaganda. 

And Trump just fired the person in charge of the investigation into all of that—an investigation that posed an existential threat to his presidency. The only other president to pull anything close to this was  Nixon, and it’s being widely regarded as a textbook case of abuse of power.

Again—only one other FBI director in history has ever been fired. And you’re not supposed to fire the people investigating you, just because you can. Needless to say, the Comey firing is a big deal. The media treated it as such. It dominated the front pages of every major U.S. newspaper, led all major newscasts, and took over the online news world. 

Reporters quickly started picking apart Trump’s justification for firing Comey. The White House statement said that the move was a result of Comey’s actions with regard to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails—something that Democrats have also been critical of. Moreover, just about anybody with any long-term memory pointed out that Trump had loudly praised those actions by Comey.

Again, the actions Trump once praised are now his primary reason for firing Comey.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration claim that the deputy attorney general (to whom the FBI director reports) had volunteered a critique of Comey began to fall apart. Trump, according to numerous independent reports, wanted Comey gone. He then asked the deputy AG and Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for justification to oust Comey. 

And then Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he made the decision to fire Comey before even talking to the AG or deputy AG.

With the inside story coming out, Trump’s supporters franticly sought to defend the firing. Fox News in particular began to spin the story as being about Comey’s lack of investigation into Hillary Clinton, according to Slate’s Will Oremus. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt tried to back the White House, but has found it difficult to keep up with the changing story.

There’s a reason it’s been difficult: Trump’s firing of Comey is indefensible. It goes against the most basic notions of checks on power, and particularly, the president’s power. Nobody in the U.S. is above the law, but the president is the only person who can conceivably fire the people investigating him.

Anybody who’s found themselves on the wrong end of an argument knows what to do next—change the subject. 

Of course! How could we not have realized that it’s the media that has been the problem the whole time? And thus, this whole thing isn’t even worth talking about! 

How could this be a big deal when the Democrats criticized Comey, too? Everybody just calm down. 

Trump routinely attacks the media, but this round is particularly desperate. Expecting the media to treat the Comey firing as anything less than a historic moment is laughable. The original story was bad enough, but it’s only deteriorated in the following 36 hours. The acting FBI director (serving in Comey’s role until Trump nominates a new FBI director) was already in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday contradicting the Trump administration’s claims about the Russia investigation and Comey’s standing within the FBI. Attorneys General from 20 states are calling for a special counsel be assigned to the investigation.

But sure, let’s talk more about the media, and how it should just let all of this go. 

Actually, let’s not.

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Anith Gopal
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