1). First, Donald Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said, according to Comey’s notes. He also asked Comey to announce, publicly, that Trump was not under investigation. Comey refused both requests, and took notes on both encounters. This is a problem Trump created out of whole cloth.
2). Then, Trump fired Comey over the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. he timing of the firing was bizarre, and the way it was handled alienated both Comey and the FBI. This, too, was a problem Trump created for himself.
3). There was a quasi-reasonable explanation for Comey’s firing, and the White House tried to offer it: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, they said, had reviewed Comey’s controversial handling of the Clinton email case, and concluded his credibility was compromised. But Donald Trump blew that to shreds, telling NBC’s Lester Holt “regardless of [the] recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.” He explained: “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, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.” No one made Trump do this.
4). In an Oval Office meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, Trump bragged, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Notes from that meeting were subsequently leaked to the New York Times, and press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the account.
So, first Trump asked Comey to collude with him in obstructing justice — thus giving Comey the ammunition to torch Trump if he was ever crossed. Then Donald Trump publicly fired and humiliated Comey. Then he publicly admitted he did it to quash the Russia investigation, which in turn primed the public to believe Comey when he said Trump also asked him to end the Flynn investigation. Then he bragged about it to Russian officials, because … I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what would possess a human being in Trump’s position to do that. Some things cannot be explained.
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