Now that James Comey’s corpse is cooling to room temperature after his Tuesday assassination by President Trump, freed from the restraints of government service, Comey’s story is starting to be told.
The New York Times reports tonight that Donald Trump had a nice little dinner with the former FBI Director and demanded “loyalty.”
A president can demand loyalty from his aides, his staff, his inner circle. A president cannot demand loyalty from a person charged with investigating crimes — especially when those crimes potentially involve the President of the United States.
As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.
Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense.
Good answer, right? I will be honest with you, Mr. President, but as head of the FBI my job is to investigate federal crimes, not to be your lickspittle.
Not good enough, apparently.
Later in the dinner, Mr. Trump again said to Mr. Comey that he needed his loyalty.
Mr. Comey again replied that he would give him “honesty” and did not pledge his loyalty, according to the account of the conversation.
But Mr. Trump pressed him on whether it would be “honest loyalty.”
“You will have that,” Mr. Comey told his associates that he responded.
Trump apparently decided that “honest loyalty” did not include investigating the President or his campaign staff and — contravening the oft-repeated story told over the last 48 hours by Trump’s spokes-critters, Trump decided this “Trump/Russia” thing had gone on long enough and made the decision to fire the “honestly loyal” FBI Director.
Mr. Trump said in the NBC interview that “regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey.”
“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” Mr. Trump said.
This is fine. Right?