One of the most important decisions Donald Trump has made as president was firing James Comey as the director of the FBI a year ago this week. It was the first domino in a series of developments that has put the Republican’s presidency in jeopardy.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who’s now a member of Trump’s legal team, told Fox News last night why the president made this decision.
“He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation. He’s entitled to that. Hillary Clinton got that and he couldn’t get that. So he fired him and he said, ‘I’m free of this guy.’”
As a rule, when a group of people, in the midst of a scandal, repeatedly change their story about basic details, something is amiss.
For those keeping score, the first line from the White House was that the president ousted Comey based on the recommendations of the Justice Department, where Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a memo criticizing the FBI director’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
The second line came from Trump himself, when he told NBC News’ Lester Holt – the last major interview the president did outside of conservative media – that he fired Comey because of the investigation into the “Russia thing.”
Despite these comments, the president insisted two weeks ago that Comey was not fired because of the investigation into the Russia scandal.
All of which led to last night, when Giuliani argued that the president wanted the then-FBI director to publicly exonerate him before the end of the investigation – something Trump apparently felt he was “entitled to.” When Comey balked, he was fired.
If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because Giuliani’s line is roughly in line with the version of events Comey memorialized in the contemporaneous memos he wrote at the time about his interactions with Trump.
I’m starting to think Trump and his team aren’t being entirely straight with us. Call it a hunch.