The statement felt both obvious and shocking. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the head of the DOJ, was one of the Trump campaign officials who had met with Russian officials and lied to congress about it. He recused himself from any matters dealing with the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But lingering questions about whether an FBI investigation of Trump would be independent made Comey's testimony feel weird.
Back in October, Sessions also thought Comey should be fired for his handling of the Clinton investigation — essentially for not locking her up.
Clinton and her supporters indeed blame Comey for throwing the election to Trump with his statement that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Clinton’s email in light of the messages from her it found on Weiner’s laptop only 11 days before the election. Whether or not that letter ended up changing the course of the election — a possibility that, Comey said made him "slightly nauseous" — it certainly played a role, especially when it came out that he had not yet announced that the Trump campaign was also under investigation.
This is our bizarro world: Clintonites are mourning Comey as hard-core Trumpists trumpet his ouster as a blow against the Deep State and Trump himself brands it as "draining the swamp."
But it is not about Comey at all. What is important is that Trump fired the person investigating his campaign’s connections to Russia — with the “clear recommendation” of Jeff Sessions, who could possibly be subject of investigation and had recused himself from dealing with anything involving the Russian investigation.
This came the day after former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified in front of the Senate that she had warned the Trump administration that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had been compromised and could be blackmailed by the Russians — 18 days before he was finally gone. During that time, he sat in on a call between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But then, to make it even crazier, after Comey got canned, CNN reported that they had discovered that federal prosecutors had recently issued subpoenas to associates of Flynn as they sought business records in the Russia probe.
Even Jeff Flake, the Senator from Arizona who generally deflected for Trump during the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on Russia, tweeted: “I’ve spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey’s firing. I just can’t do it.”
Others, including John McCain, Arizona’s other Senator and sometime Trump foe, are amplifying their calls for an independent special prosecutor.
Meanwhile, an activist named Desiree Fairooz is facing a year in jail for laughing during the same conformation in which Sessions lied about his contact with Russian agents.
This is democracy in crisis.