President Donald Trump’s shocking decision to fire FBI director James Comey on Tuesday evening represents the latest in a political outsider’s crusade against entrenched Washington.
The unusual move—a surprise to say the least—has drawn the usual critics against Trump from the media, Democratic Party and even those inside his own GOP. Regardless of the bickering back and forth between Trump and his usual District of Columbia critics over the reasoning, timing and thinking behind it, the move to fire Comey is the latest development in a true outsider’s war on Washington.
Trump campaigned on an ambitious agenda, both in the Republican primaries where he stunned 16 other highly qualified politicians by storming past them to the nomination and in the general election where he destroyed the embodiment of the permanent political class in Hillary Rodham Clinton in an electoral college landslide. He promised to throw Clinton—his general election opponent, the Democratic nominee who was previously first lady to former President Bill Clinton before serving as a U.S. Senator from New York and then as Secretary of State to now former President Barack Obama—in jail.
He pledged major reforms to the way government does business, and pushed a policy vision steeped in populist nationalism that would represent a sea change from the direction America has gone under the past several presidents of both parties—from George H.W. Bush through Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush and Obama.
But the main promise Trump made to the voters during last year’s tumultuous election cycle was that he was going to shake things up in Washington. Business as usual would be over under a President Trump, and the bureaucracy would be reined in once and for all. Trump shocked the world by winning the election with such promises, proving that his worldview—one that calls for sweeping changes in Washington—was more popular with a majority of the electoral college than Clinton’s status quo view, a status quo view that was also personified by most of Trump’s GOP primary opponents as well.
Comey, presumably, was perhaps one of the only officials whose job was deemed safe when Trump took the oath of office back on Jan. 20 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. That prevailing view among many in Washington in both political parties and throughout the media was due in part to Comey’s decision to announce to Congress just days before the Nov. 8 general election that the FBI was reopening its probe into Clinton’s email scandal, a damning political development for the Democratic nominee that came right at a time Trump was surging in many battleground states moving into the homestretch of the campaign.
It was also a prevailing view because of the fact that FBI directors generally serve for 10-year terms after appointment and confirmation, with the exception of those who are fired or otherwise leave office early due to resignation, retirement, or death. Only one FBI director other than Comey has been fired, William Sessions—who was fired by Bill Clinton.
That prevailing view that Comey of all people was safe due to his personal circumstances and situation, as Tuesday evening’s move by President Trump evidenced, was wrong: Trump, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, moved to push Comey out.
Democrats who criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton email matter were all too joyous to rush to his defense in the wake of Trump’s move, as Trump aptly pointed out specifically regarding Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on his Twitter account in the wake of the move. Leftists are desperate to keep Trump on defense as they continue harping on the Russia-influenced-the-election conspiracy, aiming to push forward an investigation that has to date found exactly zero pieces of evidence to back up their main theory: that Trump, or his associates or campaign staff, somehow colluded with Russia to “hack the election.”
There are a number of logical inconsistencies and deep factual gaps with the left’s arguments on this whole Russia scandal.
First and foremost is the lack of public proof that the Russians even did successfully hack anything. No intelligence agency, congressional committee or law enforcement entity has provided the public with any proof whatsoever that the two main hacks—the Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks right before the Democratic National Convention in the summer or the Clinton campaign chair John Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks in the run-up to the general election in November—were committed by anyone connected with Russia. It remains a possibility, based on the public slate of evidence, that either or both of those “hacks” were not actually hacks but leaks of large tranches of highly politically damaging emails from human intelligence sources with access to them.
Secondly, even if the Russians did hack either or both of those, there is—and not for the lack of Trump’s political opponents and various congressional committees and law enforcement and intelligence agencies trying to find any—absolutely no evidence of any “collusion” between Trump, or his campaign or associates, and any Russians who may have done this.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the actual content of the emails demonstrated serious impropriety on the part of the Clinton campaign, the DNC and the media—among other bad actors in the political class—when it came to their own collusion to push out grassroots leftist candidate Bernie Sanders. The leaked emails demonstrated that they did in fact collude to undermine Sanders’ chances at the nomination, among many more revelations of impropriety throughout the Democratic Party. As a result of that, the talking point that Russia “hacked the election” does not hold up under scrutiny.
Even if the Russians did hack Podesta’s emails, the DNC emails, or both, the content of them exposed significant corruption at the highest levels of the Democratic Party, thereby meaning that these emails’ content were highly relevant to the American election and debate that was happening nationwide. On that note, it’s worth pointing out that not one person has alleged that the Russians ever targeted election infrastructure like voting machines.
But all of that is beside the point of the key takeaway of the news of the day.
President Trump just sent his biggest message yet to the swamp in Washington by firing Comey: Nobody is safe, everybody is on notice, and the entire political class is in danger with him at the helm of the highest office in the land. Trump has certainly had some issues delivering on key specific campaign promises—healthcare, building a border wall, labeling China a currency manipulator and others come to mind—but on the broadest possible level, he is delivering exactly what he promised America when he barnstormed his way to the presidency: No more Mr. Nice Guy in the Oval Office.
There have been many smaller manifestations of Trump’s battle with Washington’s bureaucracy. From his chief strategist, former Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s pledge to deconstruct the administrative state, to Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly taking overt and explicit measures to secure America from threats, to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt rolling back regulations and removing entrenched bureaucrats, to many, many more actions his nascent administration has taken, Trump is rattling Washington. But the biggest move so far, the firing of Comey, is surely a sign of bigger things to come.
So, with the permanent political class in danger, it’s no surprise to see the typical swamp things on both sides of the aisle—from establishment Republicans to bitter Democrats—ripping Trump’s move. Think of the denunciations of the move as the last dying breaths of an antiquated political class, the last refuge of the scoundrel that is Washington, D.C., as we know it.
They feel very afraid, and they should: Trump is on the march, he’s winning, and nobody in the swamp is safe.