Wednesday, July 12, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, excerpt eight)

from The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser:

If there was a before and an after in the Trump presidency, the firing of James Comey on a lovely May afternoon was it, a power play gone bad that transformed much of the rest of his tenure into an endless brawl over the investigation that had prompted him to fire the FBI director in the first place. But if Trump hoped that getting rid of Comey would end or allow him to contain the inquiry, he was quickly proved wrong.

What the lawyers who had been called to the Oval Office were slow to grasp was that the poorly planned and politically ill-advised ouster of Comey was not only a scandal, it would also be seen as an effort by the president to obstruct a federal investigation into his own campaign, one they had failed to stop. They had even helped Trump concoct an implausible cover story claiming that the real reason for Comey’s dismissal, six months after the election, was that he had mishandled the FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails—as if Trump, who had led crowds at his rallies chanting “lock her up” and vowed to throw Clinton in prison if elected, cared whether she had been treated unfairly. Many Democrats loathed Comey for what he had done to Clinton, especially his last-minute decision before the 2016 election to briefly reopen the probe to examine a trove of newly discovered emails, a move that many believed had helped Trump win the presidency. But it was a fatal miscalculation on Trump’s part to think that Democrats might welcome Comey’s firing at this point rather than see it as an act intended only to protect Trump.

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