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The United States, Russia, and the 2016 Election

[ 289 ] June 23, 2017 |

The Washington Post has a comprehensive report on Russian electoral interference and the Obama Administration’s attempt to handle it without unduly interfering with the US election.

In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.

Those closest to Obama defend the administration’s response to Russia’s meddling. They note that by August it was too late to prevent the transfer to WikiLeaks and other groups of the troves of emails that would spill out in the ensuing months. They believe that a series of warnings — including one that Obama delivered to Putin in September — prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems.

Denis McDonough, who served as Obama’s chief of staff, said that the administration regarded Russia’s interference as an attack on the “heart of our system.”

“We set out from a first-order principle that required us to defend the integrity of the vote,” McDonough said in an interview. “Importantly, we did that. It’s also important to establish what happened and what they attempted to do so as to ensure that we take the steps necessary to stop it from happening again.”

But other administration officials look back on the Russia period with remorse.

“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” said a former senior Obama administration official involved in White House deliberations on Russia. “I feel like we sort of choked.”

You need to read the report now. And then take a look at Thomas Rid’s series of Tweets on the cyber side of the equation.


To the extent that the report is accurate, it reinforces a number of important domestic and international political themes.

First, Moscow clearly believed that electing Trump, or at least weakening Clinton and faith in the US electoral system, served Russian interests. Of course, we already know this. But the length’s that Moscow was willing to, including tampering with the mechanics of the election process, should remove any doubts about the seriousness of the situation. For scholars and analysts, this means waking up to the degree that power politics are about far more than military and economic interests. But in terms of immediate US national interests, it highlights just how damaging Trump’s dispositions are to American security.

The reasons why Moscow preferred Trump over Clinton, and saw even a continuation of Obama foreign policy as a threat, are rooted in a desire to destabilize institutions and arrangements that have overall served the United States, and its allies, very well. It’s easy to dismiss the #neverTrump wing of the Republican foreign-policy establishment as neoconservatives overly prone to military adventures—because it’s generally true. But where neoconservatives, liberal hawks, and progressives should agree is in the desirability of the basic infrastructure—however in need of reform—of the liberal order.

Second, it should not require much elaboration to note the insanity of far-right fantasies concerning the Obama administration’s willingness to manipulate the political process in ways that undermine democracy. Ample evidence, even before the details of this story (again, if true), suggests that Obama and his advisors were far too cautious—and too concerned wth not putting their thumbs on the scale.

Third, we are facing a national emergency when it comes to the electoral process. The Obama Administration believes that it deterred much worse than classic information warfare. What will a Trump administration do? So far, they are attempting to weaken the sanctions voted on by the Senate. This should not bring comfort.

This goes far beyond coercive diplomacy. We can’t ‘slow walk’ the investigation into electoral meddling, and we need to throw serious resources behind electoral integrity measures designed, first and foremost, to secure the voting system. My gut instinct: this requires moving to paper ballots and rethinking how we secure voter rolls.

The second concern is how to cope with Russian information warfare. Here, the GOP is stuck in a political, but not a moral, vise. The marriage between right-wing media and foreign information warfare—both in form and content—serves Republican interests. It helped, at least at the margins, elect Donald Trump. But don’t think that the left doesn’t—or won’t—face a similar problem. We already saw this surrounding the Clinton-Sanders primary battle. In an era of intense political polarization, it’s going to be very hard to push back against disinformation that proves electorally useful. Over twenty years of embracing domestic disinformation laid the groundwork for extreme vulnerability.

Fourth, what does this mean for progressive policy toward Russia? I’ve spent many years trying to navigate between, on the one hand, a clear-eyed assessment of the clash between American and Russian interests and, on the other hand, a strong desire to avoid a new “Cold War.” When I volunteered as part of the unofficial Sanders foreign-policy cell, the course seemed clear: our bright line should be NATO allies. Regardless of whether NATO expansion was a good idea, the United States has an overriding interest in the security of our NATO partners. Ukraine, for its part, required a balancing act. Again, regardless of American mistakes, we needed a calibrated approach that did not recognize the legitimacy of, or facilitate, Russian efforts in Ukraine while also keeping in mind that Ukraine is not worth war with Russia. So, when it looked like Clinton would win the election, this meant progressives needed to prepare themselves for criticizing overly aggressive moves by a future Clinton administration.

Now, I just don’t know. I still worry about the risks of pushing the geostrategic relationship in overly confrontational ways. Indeed, the Trump administration seems to be sleepwalking into very dangerous territory in Syria, behaving schizophrenically toward NATO, and sending rather mixed signals about the overall relationship, This lack of obvious policy coordination at work here—and overall ambiguity it creates in the relationship—might prove the most dangerous of the possible approaches. It creates very significant risks of miscalculation. But it’s clear that the default position among too many progressives—of dismissing attention to Russia’s role in 2016 as ‘McCarthyism’, or seeing it purely through the lens of left-liberal policy fights—is hopelessly naïve.

I hate to be that person, but this is my bottom line: it’s all bad.

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He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

[ 90 ] June 17, 2017 |

You can’t make this stuff up.

Right-wing activists attempted to shut down the controversial performance of Julius Caesar that portrays the titular character as Donald Trump.

There is, of course, a certain pathos to self-proclaimed conservatives seeking to halt—through disruption—a performance of a classic work of literature by one of the most important authors in the western literary canon. I’m sure on most days at least some of these people complain about politically correct snowflakes on college campuses destroying western culture, what with their ‘trigger warnings’ and calls to ‘decolonize the curriculum.’

But the lunacy doesn’t end there. Julius Caesar is, of course, a tragedy. A group of conspirators, jealous and fearful that he will end the Roman Republic, brutally assasinate Caesar. But instead of saving the Republic, their actions precipitate its downfall. One has to be a bit dense to see this (somewhat lazy) interpretive decision as inciting violence against Trump.

But it gets better. So much better. There are the now-mandatory misspellings. And jokes about gerbils. And crackbrained attempts to claim that the performance incited the attack on the Republican congressional baseball team.

And then it goes completely off the rails.

 

Also, of course, no witches were burned in Salem or in The Crucible.

So, in summary:

1. A bunch of far-right agitators tried to shut down a play that represents Trump as a master military leader and politician, brought down by jealousy and fear, and whose murder ushers in dictatorial empire. Indeed, the first performance of Julius Caesar I ever saw had Marc Antony et al. switch to Nazi uniforms once the struggle following Caeser’s assasination gets underway. Subtle, I know.

2. One of those involved provides an analogy designed to demonstrate to liberals why he’s on the side of justice. What’s he do? He messes up the title of a rather famous American play—one that uses the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for McCarthyism. Even better, he suggests casting Hilary Clinton in the role of one of the characters falsely accused of being a witch. Because why not confirm every stereotype about Trumpistas?

Perhaps we are witnessing a performance art piece intended to showcase—in a negative light—the triumph of Trumpism over conservative intellectualism?

If not, all I can say is that it’s a very good thing the play wasn’t a reiminganing of Sir Ian MacKellen’s version of Richard III for the Trump era.

 

Trump and Labor

[ 83 ] June 15, 2017 |

Not that you didn’t already know the general direction this was going, but Charlotte Garden has a great overview of where the Trump administration is going on labor issues. I will just quote one sentence to sum up and you can read the rest.

The writing is on the wall: during Trump’s presidency, we are likely to see DOL demand more disclosure from unions and other worker-aligned groups, while giving employers a freer hand to fight union drives.

Yep, pretty much bog standard Republicanism.

Fealty to the Emperor

[ 212 ] June 12, 2017 |

Trump is feeling good today, after a Cabinet meeting designed for all his appointees to assure the president of his super awesomeness.

President Trump on Monday used his first full-fledged Cabinet meeting to try to make a case that, despite the Russian investigation and other distractions, his administration is racking up accomplishments at a record clip.

“Never has there been a president, with few exceptions — case of FDR, he had a major depression to handle — who has passed more legislation and who has done more things than what we’ve done,” Trump, referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, said during the meeting at the White House.

“I think we’ve been about as active as you can possibly be at a just about record-setting pace,” Trump said.

The meeting was also notable in that Trump allowed his Cabinet members, in full view of the media, to take turns praising him and his policy agenda.

“We thank you for the opportunity and blessing . . . to serve your agenda,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said in remarks that were echoed by other senior members of the administration.

Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, also lavished Trump with praise, saying “what an incredible honor it is” to lead his department “at this pivotal time under your leadership.”

“I can’t thank you enough for the privileges you’ve given me and the leadership that you’ve shown,” Price said.

Staged public events that serve to massage the president’s ego will totally be taken at face value by future historians.

The Daily Step Toward Fascism

[ 92 ] June 2, 2017 |

Above: Donald Trump

Trump is the second coming of Andrew Jackson and turning the federal bureaucracy into an openly partisan operation is part of that.

The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers’ oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Donald Trump.

At meetings with top officials for various government departments this spring, Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats, according to Republican sources inside and outside the administration.

It appears to be a formalization of a practice that had already taken hold, as Democrats have complained that their oversight letters requesting information from agencies have gone unanswered since January, and the Trump administration has not yet explained the rationale.

The declaration amounts to a new level of partisanship in Washington, where the president and his administration already feels besieged by media reports and attacks from Democrats. The idea, Republicans said, is to choke off the Democratic congressional minorities from gaining new information that could be used to attack the president.

The one party authoritarian state that goes to the mat to protect its Dear Leader–what could go wrong!

Trump Your Life!

[ 90 ] May 28, 2017 |

Another episode of FOX’s series to fleece the hoopleheads by urging them to live their lives in the moral, upstanding way of President Donald J. Trump.

This is the second of five installments I plan to share. If you take this Trump-inspired self-help advice seriously, I believe it will significantly improve your existence.

As a reminder, these were the first three ways to begin TRUMPING YOUR LIFE:

1) Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough to work toward any goal. Just don’t forget the work.

2) Don’t mimic your competitors. Have the courage to be authentic.

3) Let yourself be righteously angry when people take you for a weakling, a fool or a fraud.

Now, onward . . .

4. Assume you will encounter increasing resistance as you pursue big and worthy goals.

Small minds, intent on stalling or frustrating real change, become increasingly obstructive in the face of bold momentum. Unfortunately, people who don’t know how to achieve great things often derive feelings of power by standing in the way of them. Rather than being disheartened by this opposition, you should do what I believe Donald Trump does: Interpret resistance to your loftiest goals as a sign that you are truly on a road to something genuine and important. Turn the friction you feel from small minds into fuel for your intentions. Double down.

5. Don’t be afraid to speak about things like friendship and love. Among strong people, connections of the heart are very powerful.

President Trump is known for pointing out friends in big crowds. He talks openly about loving places and people and projects. He is clearly pained by cruelty to children. After receiving a long round of applause during a recent speech in Israel, he paused to say, “I like you, too.” Being powerful doesn’t mean you need to be austere. Creativity is enhanced by a willingness not to be so intent on appearing courageous that you can’t be very powerfully moved by emotion. Sure, Trump is tough and can be moved to anger. But he also seems able to laugh and to love.

You should feel free to speak from your heart, not just your head. People will hear you even better.

6. After hard-fought battles, whether you win or lose, don’t assume your competitors can’t become your partners.

President Trump reached out to candidates he fiercely debated during the Republican primaries and turned more than one into an ally. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson comes to mind. So does Gov. Chris Christie. Burning bridges may feel satisfying when you do it, but you can easily find yourself alone, on an island. The truth is that most people are pretty forgiving and can set aside some hurt feelings or even very bruised egos to pursue worthy goals with former adversaries.

You have to ask to mend fences, of course. You have to be willing to extend an olive branch — or two or three — even after wielding a bat. And that takes some kindness and courage and faith. But you will be repaid through synergies that might never have developed had you let your ego interfere with the greater good.

So who is with me to start Trumping Your Life? I am going to start by never reading another book. Then I am going to sexually assault women over whom I have some sort of power. Then I am going to attack Muslims and say incendiary things that make Nazis glow. Then I am going to play some golf. Then I am going to ride around in a golf cart while other foreign leaders walk. Then I am going to show the head of small Balkan nations out of the way to make myself feel good. Then I am going to name a neoConfederate named after actual Confederates to run a law enforcement agency. Then I will probably sexually assault some more women. And finally, I will consult with my mentor, the most moral man in American history, Roy Cohn.

More Trump Budgeting

[ 67 ] May 27, 2017 |

Another target of the Trump budget is weather forecasting and research. Because who needs to know more about where a tornado might strike, the path of a hurricane, or an oncoming blizzard?

The main U.S. weather forecasting model, which has fallen behind the European model in its accuracy, has been called a “national embarrassment.”

In an inexplicable budget proposal that has floored the weather community, the Trump administration aims to reduce investments in programs that would improve this model and many others aspects of the nation’s weather forecasting.

Released Tuesday, the proposal slashes funding at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent agency of the National Weather Service, by 16 percent.

The proposal not only reduces investments in weather forecasting technology but also cuts programs that would enhance understanding of phenomena, such as El Nino, hurricanes and tornadoes. NOAA’s weather satellite programs would see reductions in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

That will show THE DEEP STATE not to mess with Trump!

Mr. Hot Air Full of Nothing But Hot Air

[ 44 ] May 24, 2017 |

I too am shocked that the ridiculous “deal” Trump made with Carrier to “save jobs” was complete garbage.

The Carrier factory that President Trump convinced owners not to move to Mexico will lay off hundreds of workers just before the holiday season, CNN reported Tuesday.

The Indianapolis furnace plant pledged to stay in the United States late last year after making a deal with President Trump, but announced today that it will lay off more than 600 workers, the final 290 of which will be fired just before the holiday season.

The move isn’t a complete surprise for the company. In their initial announcement last year, the company revealed that while the plant would remain in the U.S., the factory would be cutting down on labor to reduce costs.

Trump took credit for saving 1,100 jobs at the factory in December.

“Here’s what’s going to happen,” Trump told a crowd in Indianapolis last year. “I’ll get a call from the head of Carrier and he’ll say, ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to stay in the United States.’ That’s what’s going to happen — 100 percent.”

Sure thing dude. Sure thing. MAGA.

Our Idiot King, Part V

[ 138 ] May 13, 2017 |

23-donald-trump-trucks.w710.h473

An incredible specimen of idiot.

One health aspect Trump is transparent about: He doesn’t like to break a sweat. To be more precise, he thinks physical activity will kill you faster.

In a remarkable New Yorker story this week about how Donald Trump could realistically be removed from the presidency, Evan Osnos writes: “Other than golf, he considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.”

The Trump “human body as non-rechargeable battery” theory was first detailed by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher in their 2016 book, Trump Revealed:

After college, after Trump mostly gave up his personal athletic interests, he came to view time spent playing sports as time wasted. Trump believed the human body was like a battery, with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted. So he didn’t work out. When he learned that John O’Donnell, one of his top casino executives, was training for an Ironman triathlon, he admonished him, “You are going to die young because of this.”

On the campaign trail, we learned that Trump didn’t dedicate any extra time to breaking a sweat because he believes exercise is actually harmful, according to this 2015 New York Times profile:

Trump said he was not following any special diet or exercise regimen for the campaign. ‘‘All my friends who work out all the time, they’re going for knee replacements, hip replacements — they’re a disaster,’’ he said. He exerts himself fully by standing in front of an audience for an hour, as he just did. ‘‘That’s exercise.’”

Let’s pause to consider how remarkably backward this is.

There was a time when doctors would have concurred with Trump on this. That was the Victorian era. Back then, people worried a physical activity could cause everything from exhaustion and heart palpitations, particularly in women.

If we are bringing back the Gilded Age, we might as well include Gilded Age ideas about the body. Now can we legalize laudanum so I can get through the next 4 years?

We’ve Crossed the Rubicon

[ 207 ] May 12, 2017 |

Trump’s interview with Lester Holt leaves no doubt that the Trump Administration, its surrogates, and GOP officials spent two days misleading the American people. The rationale crafted by Rosenstein was obviously pretextual, but as long as the administration stayed on message, they provided their allies with plausible deniability. Moreover, it is difficult to interpret Trump’s comments, and those of his Huckabee Sanders, as anything other than this: Trump fired Comey, at least in part, to influence the conduct of the Russia probe. The fact that this may fail is immaterial.

Here’s Huckabee Sanders:

“We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity,” she said, referring to the FBI’s probe into Moscow’s interference in last year’s election. “And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.”

More important, here’s Trump:

DONALD TRUMP: [OVER TALK] Well, all I can tell you is, well I know what, I know that I’m not under investigation. Me. Personally. I’m not talking about campaigns. I’m not talking about anything else. I’m not under investigation.
LESTER HOLT: Did you ask him to drop the investigation?
DONALD TRUMP: No. Never.
LESTER HOLT: Did anyone from the White House?
DONALD TRUMP: No, in fact I want the investigation speeded up.
LESTER HOLT: Did anyone from the White House ask him to, to end the
investigation?
DONALD TRUMP: [OVER TALK] No. No. Why would we do that? [OVER TALK]
LESTER HOLT: [OVER TALK] Any surrogates on behalf of the White House
DONALD TRUMP: Not that I know of. Look I want to find out if there was a problem with an election having to do with Russia. Or by the way, anyb- any anybody else. Any other country. And I want that to be so strong and so good. And I want it to happen. I also want to have a really competent, capable director. He’s not. He’s a showboat. He’s not my man or not my man. I didn’t appoint him. He was appointed long before me. But I want somebody who’s going to do a great job. And I will tell you we’re looking at candidates right now who could be spectacular. And that’s what I want for the FBI.

This may look innocuous, but it isn’t. Trump ties the removal of Comey to concerns about his ability to investigate the Trump campaign.

And now, today, the President of the United States falls back into a pattern that sounds an awful lot like intimidation of potential witnesses.

Max Boot—yes, Max Boot—sums up the situation:

Democrats already hold 48 seats in the Senate. It would not take many Republican defectors to join with the Democratic majority to paralyze the upper house — to refuse to act on any of Trump’s legislative priorities, from health care reform to tax cuts — until the Justice Department agrees to appoint a special counsel or until Congress agrees to authorize, and Trump to sign, legislation creating an independent commission. Republican Sens. Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, and John McCain have already indicated they are troubled by the manner of Comey’s dismissal. Will they now reveal themselves to be men of honor and courage who are willing to stand up for the republic rather than the Republican Party? On that question hinges the future of the rule of law in America

Update: here’s the start of my “Tweet storm” (ugh) for why I’m completely freaked out right now.

Impeach Trump

[ 307 ] May 10, 2017 |

For a host of reasons, I was pretty skeptical of calls to impeach Trump. For one, it’s highly unlikely to happen—even advocating it seems like a distraction from more productive political activism. For another, I think it  hard to understate the risks of impeachment in an era of intense polarization. Although I think Trump’s call, during the campaign, for Russia to hack Clinton was sufficient collusion to discredit him, I also do not believe that it constitutes an impeachable offense. Indeed, as horrible as Trump is on a personal and political level, impeachment should absolutely not be a tool for enacting a constitutional coup. The Republicans tried this with Bill Clinton, and I think we underestimate, at our peril, the long-term damage done by that effort.

Despite the title of this post, I’m still not fully on the bandwagon. But if this John Dawsey story in Politico is accurate—and that’s a big if—I suspect we’ve crossed if not the Rubicon, then a significant line of some kind.

[Trump] had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.

Moreover:

The news stunned Comey, who saw his dismissal on TV while speaking inside the FBI office in Los Angeles. It startled all but the uppermost ring of White House advisers, who said grumbling about Comey hadn’t dominated their own morning senior staff meetings. Other top officials learned just before it happened and were unaware he was considering firing Comey. “Nobody really knew,” one senior White House official said. “Our phones all buzzed and people said, What?”

By ousting the FBI director investigating his campaign and associates, Trump may have added more fuel to the fire he is furiously trying to contain — and he was quickly criticized by a chorus of Republicans and Democrats. “The timing of this firing was very troubling,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican.

Trump had grown angry with the Russia investigation — particularly Comey admitting in front of the Senate that the FBI was investigating his campaign — and that the FBI director wouldn’t support his claims that President Barack Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower [my emphasis].

This, and similar accounts, seem consistent with my prior post. Trump was angry at Comey for disrespecting him, not affirming his fact-free accusations against the Obama Administration, and, more generally, for not carrying Trump’s water on the Russia investigation. There are two sweeping implications. None are, sadly, surprising. But they now take on new urgency.

First, Trump is basically unhinged. In more technical language, he’s unfit to serve. I’m sure many presidents felt similarly about investigations against them—but Trump actually fired the head of the nation’s most important law-enforcement agency for falling to supporting an alternative reality. This is, in the terms laid out by Jacob Levy, the mark of an authoritarian—driven, perhaps, by temperamental deficiencies that raise serious doubts about Trump’s continued status as President of the United States.

Some of our past presidents have suffered from their own deficiencies and impairments, but few have surrounded himself with such a circle of charlatans, incompetents, ideologues, family members, and enablers. The exceptions to this parade of people who have no business near government include a handful of people at the NSC, the Department of Defense, Rick Perry at Energy—who, whatever his flaws, appears to take governance seriously—and a few others. Rosenstein, per Benjamin Wittes, was supposed to be one of the adults. But he has disgraced himself  by crafting a transparently post-hoc rationalization for Comey’s removal.

Second, and more important, if Trump fired Comey for failing to toe the line on FBI investigations—into, one the one hand, collusion between the Trump administration and Russia and, on the other hand, his accusations concerning Obama administration wiretappings—then he has used the power of his office to interfere with law-enforcement activity directly implicating himself. This is a profound abuse of power for personal benefit—one that throws us into a constitutional crisis.

Yes, Trump had every right to fire Comey. Nixon had every right to fire Archibald Cox. Both actions, however, demonstrate the unwillingness of the highest elected official in the United States to make his administration accountable to the rule of law. Even if there is no ‘there there’ to the Russia-Trump investigation, the Trump administration faces a host of other collisions with the rule of law and norms of democratic governance—many involving financial conflicts of interest implicating Trump’s own family. We can no longer pretend to have any confidence that Trump will allow other ongoing or future investigations to unfold in an orderly and proper manner.

This is far from the first, and likely far from the last, defining moment for Republican elected officials. I do not envy them. They tread dangerous and difficult ground. But we rightly judge the integrity of men and women by how they behave in such moments. It is time for genuinely independent and bipartisan investigations into the Trump administration—ones carried out with the clear knowledge that grounds for an impeachment are a plausible outcome.

Quick Note on the Comey Firing

[ 158 ] May 9, 2017 |

My friend has a theory, and it’s an interesting one. One variant of Trump’s Razor holds that all of his behavior is ultimately rooted in his narcissism. As has been clear for a while, he’s fairly easily to goad. He’s obsessed with slights against him. That kind of thing. So, here’s the deal.

First, reports suggest that Trump decided to fire Comey last week.

President Trump’s decision Tuesday to fire FBI Director James Comey has been in the works since at least last week, according to multiple media reports.  Senior officials at the White House and Justice Department were working on building a case against Comey since that time, according to The New York Times. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked to come with reasons to oust him. CNN reported the discussions were confined to the highest levels of the Trump administration. Shortly after Comey’s firing was announced, the White House circulated letters from Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, justifying the decision. Rosenstein cited Comey’s handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which Trump repeatedly promoted during the 2016 campaign. The firing occurred weeks after Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating whether Trump associates colluded with Russia in its efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Second, what happened last week?

FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that it makes him “mildly nauseous” to think his decision to reopen the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails just days before the election could have impacted voters, but added he would make the same choice again.

So was Trump pissed that Comey might have dissed him? That he reaffirmed the existance of an investigation into connections between Moscow and members of the Trump Administration? Both?

The bizarre letter of dismissal certainly has the whiff of Trump in full petulance mode.

Realize that this theory actually makes things worse.

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