Pundits swear he didn't: On Tuesday, May 9, Donald J. Trump gave James B. Comey the chance to spend more time with his family.
Trump relieved Comey of his duties as director of the FBI. It was a highly unusual thing to do. In his letter to Comey, Trump made a surprising claim:
''I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation," Trump said, rather clownishly, as part of a very brief letter. In response, pundits rushed to make a pair of related claims:
First, Donald J. Trump was lying again, a long list of star pundits said. Inevitably, many pundits also said this:
Comey the God would never say something like that to Trump! Why, a statement like that would fly in the face of Justice Department policies!
Years ago, Superman stated the principle involved in this matter. According to Superman, everyone knew the real Chuckles the Clown would never throw a man to his death!
To review those facts, click here. So it was with James B. Comey, who would never behave in the ludicrous way Donald J. Trump had alleged.
Everyone knew the real Comey the God would never tell Donald J. Trump—on three separate occasions, no less!—that he wasn't under investigation. Everyone knew he wouldn't do that. And this meant Trump was lying.
As it turned out, James B. Comey—Comey the God—actually had done that. Or so he testified, just last week, to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
For our money, Comey's explanation for his behavior may perhaps have possibly sounded just a tiny bit sketchy. But then, this is a man who has never met a Justice Department policy he wasn't willing to break, or so it can sometimes seem.
Please understand an important point. No one else is going to tell you that Comey's explanation was suspect. That's because of the childish way our failing culture functions.
Trump sent his letter to Comey on Tuesday, May 9. Two days later, he repeated his ridiculous claim to NBC's Lester Holt in a televised interview.
Comey had told him, on three occasions, that he wasn't under investigation! Everybody knew that was crazily wrong, that a man like James B. Comey would never do something like that.
Even before Trump spoke with Holt, "associates" of James B. Comey rose in high dudgeon. Perhaps the most widely bruited denial appeared in the Wall Street Journal.
The denial appeared in a news report by a trio of Journal reporters. In fact, it appeared rather late in their news report. But became the denial was so dramatic, it would be pimped far and wide:
WILBER, FORREST AND BALLHAUS (5/11/17): Mr. Comey’s associates also denied the claim made by Mr. Trump, in his letter firing Mr. Comey, that the director told him on three occasions that he wasn’t under investigation. They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations. “That is literally farcical,” said one associate.As with Chuckles, so too here. Everyone knew the real Jim Comey would never do something like that!
Such conduct would violate longstanding policies! Donald Trump's claim was "literally farcical," one associate colorfully said.
Tomorrow, we'll show you some of what occurred in the wake of that stirring denial. We'll show you other mistaken statements by other pundits and experts.
We'll show you Professor Tribe's embarrassing array of statements, in which he said that Donald J. Trump's claim was "completely implausible" and "appears to have been a blatant lie.” We'll even show you the op-ed piece where Tribe said that Donald Trump's claim was "manifestly false."
Please understand! When we do this, we won't be trying to make you think that Trump was acting in good faith when he unloaded the man he called a "showboat"—though there too, it's hard to say he was wrong in what he said.
Personally, we regard Donald J. Trump as deeply disordered, in an array of ways. But there are other disordered players floating around, and they too have played key roles in creating, and maintaining, our ludicrous political culture.
In the current circumstance, large elements of our press corps are doing what they've been doing for decades. They're creating a deeply childish tale in which one figure wears a big white hat and the other hat is black.
To make their story as childish as possible, they've been restoring the divine status of Comey the God. If we might borrow from The Band, we ourselves are among the ones who think it's a childish thing to do.
When Comey and Trump had dinner that night, two very important public officials were together in a room. It seems to us that Comey may have behaved rather poorly that night, as he's done before.
We're not sure we think the god is entirely godlike. But we liberals keep begging our favorite stars:
Favorite pundits, please please please! Don't lead us toward childhood's end!
Coming all week: Comments on the ludicrous conduct of our "liberal" "press"
UPDATE/BREAKING NEWS: We must say, The Band still sounds remarkably good. Listening, we were struck by the second verse:
It was all so very painless for you to run and out receive
All that false instruction which we never could believe
And now the heart is filled with gold as if it was a purse
But oh, but what kind of love is this that goes from bad to worse?
That song (by Dylan) brutally captured the heartbreak of an age. As for today, let's look on the bright side:
Today, there's clearly more than enough false instruction to go around!