- - Wednesday, May 10, 2017


The sky is falling, or it soon will be. That’s the verdict of the chattering class in Washington, where making smoke, sometimes without a fire, is the leading industry. The sacking of James Comey, the director of the FBI, has put the cat among the pigeons, and they rarely fly in tight formation.

Nobody knows yet what’s actually at the bottom of the president’s dramatic decision to dismiss a man who by all accounts deserved the sacking. The pigeons are aflutter at the top of their game before they know what’s actually going on. The facts have ruined many a good story.

Ghosts are emerging from the shadows of the past to conjure worst possible cases. “President Donald Trump’s astonishing firing of [Mr. Trump] raised throughout Washington the inevitable question,” writes Elizabeth Drew in Politico the magazine. “Is this Watergate? While Watergate was sui generis and is likely to remain so, [Mr.] Trump’s metastasizing crisis, and Washington’s reaction to it, make for a discomfiting reminder of that period. And suddenly it seems increasingly possible it could end the same way.”

A “discomfiting reminder”? Pshaw, nothing could comfit the chattering class more, and we can expect the chatterers of press and tube over the next few days to raise the temperature in the nation’s capital toward the boiling point, which is conveniently lower in Washington than anywhere else. “The fear that permeated the Washington atmosphere during Watergate,” as Miss Drew, who was there, reminds, “hasn’t quite developed, but some of the elements of the story — in particular a vindictive president seeming out of control — are in place for that to happen as well.”

No one has seen a president seeming out of control, except in partisan fancy, but the facts as known are straightforward enough, and a very good story already. The same James Comey who roiled the 2016 election campaign, first by setting out the particulars of an indictment of Hillary Clinton for serious violation of national security with her unauthorized email server, and then saying he still wasn’t going recommend an indictment, changed his mind only 11 days before the election. He implied that he might indict after all, but in the end, didn’t.

Hillary is still seething, or was until the FBI director got his pink slip. Only a fortnight ago she angrily blamed Mr. Comey for costing her the presidency, and the senior politicians in her party were ready to boil Mr. Comey in the midnight oil. But since the FBI is investigating alleged shadowy connections between the president and the Russians — noisily alleged with no evidence — the Democrats have now discovered a virtuous Mr. Comey, and say the sacking proves that the president is guilty. The oil heated for boiling Mr. Comey can be used to boil the president instead.

The known facts put the Democrats in an awkward place, but with the usual media mob in place to join them in common purpose, they’re rallying in defense of the man they despised only a fortnight ago. They’re demanding a special prosecutor to open an investigation like the investigation that brought down Richard Nixon several decades ago.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the typical Democratic hysteric, says she has no confidence in James Comey but thinks he should lead the investigation into Mr. Trump’s ties, if any, to the Russians, anyway. She wants to impeach him and throw him out of the White House now. There will be time enough for the facts to emerge after that.



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