Tuesday Afternoon Massacre

Trump just fired the FBI director, James Comey. This sounds strangely familiar.

Comey was a ratfucker, and deserved to be fired…but Trump doing it, as the investigation into his ratfuckery grows, is the action of a dictator.


  1. archangelospumoni says

    Zzis iss gettink verrrrrry eenterestinkk.

    And loyal Drumpfheteers will be pulling muscles and spraining various joints in their new gyrations defending Drumpfh.

  2. rpjohnston says

    How trite. The downfall of every villain…trying to harness the power of darkness only to be consumed by it. And yet they keep trying.

  3. rpjohnston says

    I’d give it good odds that whatever enabling toady Trump installs in place of Comey will go ahead and drag Hillary into kangaroo court, too. Circuses for his rabid flock.

  4. says

    whatever enabling toady Trump installs

    You know Giuliani is standing by his phone, praying, with tears running down his face.

  5. mcfrank0 says

    PZ, I’m surprise more people haven’t noticed the similarity. Trump is going full Nixon and the tell is in the second paragraph of the termination letter: “”While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation…”

    I originally said “What a crock” — but it should say “what a crook”.

  6. raven says

    Just saw this.
    I grew up during the Vietnam war and remember Nixon doing something similar.
    It was the beginning of the end for him.

    Now, who knows?
    I suspect our democracy has decayed to the point where something like this is considered normal.
    Highly corrupt and dishonest but those are the new normals.

  7. pita says

    This is absolutely nothing like the Saturday Night Massacre!

    The AG and the Deputy AG under Nixon at least had the decency to resign instead of gleefully participate.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Behold the positive side of Trump’s ignorance of history, even that of his own nominal adulthood.

  9. stwriley says

    The interesting part is that some of the GOP who have been anti-Trump from the get-go are rising back up at this news. Lindsey Graham is openly saying he’ll investigate Trump’s Russian business connections while McCain’s reaction is regret at the firing ofComey and hints that the other shoe is about to drop on Russia and Trump. It looks like the old-line Cold Warriors like McCain are a little too pissed off at Trump’s collusion with the Russians and aren’t going to stand by the party. If we’re lucky, this firing could be the signal for everything to come out and the end of Trump (and Pence, and Sessions, and Ryan, who hints have all indicated may be implicated with Trump and his cronies) to finally begin.

  10. robro says

    I agree this isn’t much like the situation in 1973. Cox was doing his job, Comey fumbled badly. Still yesterday was a double-whammy for TweeterDumb. Perhaps more important than Comey blowing his testimony about emails, Yeats exposed holes in the administration’s narrative about Flynn. Trumpster says he misses his old life. Maybe he’ll get back to it soon.

  11. raven says

    Let me guess.
    Jason Chaffetz will start a hearing on this any minute now.
    Hillary and Benghazi rated 8 investigations lasting years.
    The Trump Tuesday massacre should be good for at least 80 investigations.

  12. says

    LawFare blog:

    …It’s a neat trick: stymie the Russia investigation by siding with Hillary Clinton. Put another way, what if you had a Saturday Night Massacre and liberals cheered because they hated Archibald Cox?

    The question before us now is whether Trump will get away with it. There is no question that the President has the legal authority to remove the FBI director. But there’s also no question that removing the FBI Director in the midst of a high-stakes investigation of Russian influence in the inner circle of the President’s campaign and White House is a horrifying breach of every expectation we have of the relationship between the White House and federal law enforcement.

    What’s more, there is also no question that members of Congress, particularly members of the Senate, who are concerned about the integrity of that investigation and, more broadly, about preventing the gross political intervention in ongoing law enforcement and intelligence operations have tools at their disposal. We expect them to use those tools, as every American should.

    The immediate concern is to ensure that the integrity of the Russia investigation, and all associated investigations, is preserved. We have not previously called for a special prosecutor, believing that Rosenstein was a person of integrity who should be given a chance to make a call on that question. His performance today, however, requires that he now step aside. Assuming that he acted with sincerity for the reasons he articulated, he has still participated in a tawdry episode that will—and should—raise profound questions about the administration’s commitment to a fair and independent investigation of matters that touch the deepest of national security concerns. He cannot credibly lead this investigation any longer, and leaders of both parties must make sure he steps aside for an independent prosecutor who can.

    The broader concern is the protection of the FBI. Because removing one FBI director means installing another. Whomever Trump chooses for the role needs to go through the most exacting scrutiny to make sure that the director’s office—and the Bureau more generally—is not now the subject of White House control and a mere instrument of political whim.

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have a problem with MSNBC coverage of this bullshit. No biobreak opportunities. *waves fist*

  14. laurentweppe says

    Not to sound pessimistic, but you should start to expect Trump to order law enforcement and/or the military to shoot at protesters with live ammunition in the near future.

  15. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Congresscritters respond to the firing. The Dems are predictably (and justifiably) up in arms; the interesting and important question is how are the rethugs responding. Some samples:

    Roy Blunt says nothing (he’s the first in the list; there are several others who say more or less the same):

    Director Comey has served the country well in a number of different roles. Many, including myself, have questioned his actions more than once over the past year. I believe new leadership at the FBI will restore confidence in the organization and among the people who do the hard work to carry out its mission.

    Susan Collins was supposed to be one of the good ones, right? Well, maybe not:

    The Justice Department was really understaffed for a long time, it took a while for the attorney general to be confirmed and his deputy was just confirmed I believe a week or so ago, and it’s the deputy who is a career prosecutor who had been designated to do the analysis so the FBI director’s actions and came up with the recommendation.

    The president did not fire the entire FBI. He fired the director of the FBI. And any suggestion that this is somehow going to stop the FBI’s investigation of the attempts by the Russians to influence the elections last fall is really patently absurd. This is just one person, it’s the director, the investigation is going forward both at the FBI and in the Senate Intel Committee in a bipartisan way. SO I don’t think there’s any link at all.

    John Cornyn blames the Dems:

    Ds were against Comey before they were for him.

    McCain at least is willing to stand up to Il Douchebag:

    While the President has the legal authority to remove the Director of the FBI, I am disappointed in the President’s decision to remove James Comey from office. James Comey is a man of honor and integrity, and he has led the FBI well in extraordinary circumstances. I have long called for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The president’s decision to remove the FBI Director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee.

    McConnell, on the other hand, never fails to fail:

    Once the Senate receives a nomination, we look forward to a full, fair, and timely confirmation process to fill the Director position. This is a critical role that is especially important as America faces serious threats at home and abroad.

    In the House, a few Rethugs get it.

    Justin Amash (MI):

    My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.

    Carlos Curbelo (FL):

    Today’s extraordinary decision raises many questions all of which must be answered. Congress and the American people need a transparent explanation as to how this decision was reached and why it was executed at this time. It is critical that the FBI can continue all of its pending work with independence and integrity – especially the investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to influence our last election and undermine American democracy. Today I reiterate the need for Congress to establish a Select Committee with full investigatory powers to thoroughly examine this matter.

    But then there’s the likes of Ron DeSantis (also FL):

    President Trump made the right decision to relieve FBI Director James Comey of his duties. I look forward to the President nominating a strong director who will keep the FBI focused on core mission & out of the political thicket.

    As a reminder, to impeach a President takes a simple majority in the House. Removing an impeached President takes a 2/3 vote of the Senate.

    Finally, a note to the WaPo: Angus King is from ME, not VT. I know all those New England states seem interchangeable to you, but they’re not.

  16. rpjohnston says

    The investigation itself aside, we had a President be impeached for “obstruction of justice” for lying about a blowjob; I would think firing the FBI director leading an investigation into his boss would count as an impeachable “obstruction of justice”. There are so many things that are impeachable already.

  17. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    When McCain gets the independent investigation started, he better put Sally Yates in charge.
    She takes no shit, dedicated to protecting the Constitution regardless of party affiliations, and cuts to the heart of the matter with no vulnerability to distraction.

  18. Owlmirror says

    I wonder if the “not under investigation” part of the firing memo was a classic example of Trump twisting what he hears. Perhaps the three instances of Comey “informing me [,,,] that I am not under investigation” were originally something more like: “Mr. President, I would never tell you that you are under investigation without providing you with the full and formal briefing that you are entitled to”.

    Someone attuned to subtlety would notice that that’s not an actual denial that he’s being investigated, but I am pretty sure that subtlety is invisible to Mr. Trump.

  19. Dunc says

    SC (Salty Current) @29:

    There’s no bottom.

    Drill, baby, drill!


    Whomever Trump chooses for the role needs to go through the most exacting scrutiny to make sure that the director’s office—and the Bureau more generally—is not now the subject of White House control and a mere instrument of political whim.

    Lol. Trump’s going to install a glove puppet, and the GOP are going to go with it. Prepare for further purges of the disloyal.

  20. EigenSprocketUK says

    If the president were to think about it (heh heh) then he wouldn’t fire Comey just before Comey gives evidence to the senate. He’d fire the senate just before it receives evidence from Comey.

  21. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I keep making the ‘analogy’ ugh starting a betting pool of when 45 goes full Kim Jong Un.
    He has been heading this way since 9-11-2016 (world standard notation, for the ominous optics) Firing one of his henchmen for investigating him is just another step to dictatorship.

  22. rietpluim says

    …is the action of a dictator.

    Yes, Trump’s actions are finally showing some consistency.

  23. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness All the Time thread:

    This explanation, that Trump was enraged, sounds likely to be true. That may be the real reason Comey was fired. (Rosenstein may have been duped or used as a convenient excuse?)


    [Trump] had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.

    The news stunned Comey, who saw his dismissal on TV while speaking inside the FBI office in Los Angeles. […]

    By ousting the FBI director investigating his campaign and associates, Trump may have added more fuel to the fire he is furiously trying to contain — and he was quickly criticized by a chorus of Republicans and Democrats. […]

    Trump had grown angry with the Russia investigation — particularly Comey admitting in front of the Senate that the FBI was investigating his campaign — and that the FBI director wouldn’t support his claims that President Barack Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower.

    Yeah, that sounds like Trump. Shocking us once again with how vindictive, stupid and narcissistic our president is.

    […] But the fallout seemed to take the White House by surprise. Trump made a round of calls around 5 p.m., asking for support from senators. White House officials believed it would be a “win-win” because Republicans and Democrats alike have problems with the FBI director, one person briefed on their deliberations said.

    Instead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told him he was making a big mistake — and Trump seemed “taken aback,” according to a person familiar with the call.

    By Tuesday evening, the president was watching the coverage of his decision and frustrated no one was on TV defending him, a White House official said. He wanted surrogates out there beating the drum.

    Instead, advisers were attacking each other for not realizing the gravity of the situation as events blew up.

    Two White House officials said there was little communications strategy in handling the firing, and that staffers were given talking points late Tuesday for hastily arranged media appearances. […]

    While shock dominated much of the FBI and the White House, the mood was more elated at Roger Stone’s house in Florida. Several Stone allies and friends said Stone, who has been frequently mentioned in the investigation, encouraged the president to fire Comey in conversations in recent weeks.

    On Twitter, Stone signaled praise for the move by posting an image of Trump from The Apprentice saying “You’re fired.” […]

    Politico link. “Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia”

    So, yeah, Roger Stone thinks this was a great move. Plus, he has been pushing Trump to fire Comey.

    There’s a whole clown car full of dunderheads advising team Trump, and/or running the White House.

  24. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness All the Time thread.

    Mike Pence spoke for about nine minutes today. He said that Comey was fired because “it was time for a fresh start.” You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s really weak, even for Pence’s calm, serious-but-stupid style of lying.

    Pence also used a fuckton of keywords: “decisive” and “strong leadership” etc.

    Pence also repeated several times that other authorities, like James Clapper, had said previously that there was no evidence that Trump had collaborated with the Russians. Trump had tweeted the same lie about Clapper several times.

    Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is “no evidence” of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.

    That’s not what Clapper said.

    […] On March 4, Clapper went on Meet the Press, and was asked by Chuck Todd if he’s aware of evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

    “Not to my knowledge,” Clapper replied.

    Just over two weeks later, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia. That same day, Trump seized upon Clapper’s Meet the Press remark to try and undercut the notion he’s involved in a scandal.

    James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

    On March 20, Press Secretary Sean Spicer cited Clapper’s remark during his press briefing, […] “Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm that there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion,” Spicer said. “The Obama CIA director said so, Obama’s director of national intelligence said so, and we take them at their word.” […]

    On Monday, however, Clapper clarified that his Meet the Press comment wasn’t meant to give people the idea he had direct knowledge of Comey’s investigation and had concluded it hadn’t uncovered evidence of collusion. Instead, he said he just wasn’t aware that Comey was investigating.

    From Mother Jones:

    […] At Monday’s hearing, Clapper pulled this rug out from under the White House and its comrades. He noted that it was standard policy for the FBI not to share with him details about ongoing counterintelligence investigations. And he said he had not been aware of the FBI’s investigation of contacts between Trump associates and Russia that FBI director James Comey revealed weeks ago at a House intelligence committee hearing.

    Consequently, when Clapper told Todd that he was not familiar with any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, he was speaking accurately. But he essentially told the Senate subcommittee that he was not in a position to know for certain. This piece of spin should now be buried. Trump can no longer hide behind this one Clapper statement.

    […] Yates, meanwhile, refused to answer questions about whether she’s aware of evidence of collusion, saying her answer would require her to disclose classified information.

    Think Progress link

    Later in his testimony, Clapper said that he could not reply to a question about Trump’s business ties to Russia: “Sen. Graham, I can’t comment on that because that impacts the investigation.”

    Trump, Pence, Spicer, and other team Trump dunderheads keep repeating their misunderstanding of what Clapper said. Repetition doesn’t make it true.

  25. DLC says

    Trump got help from Putin. It’s a fact. Trump, via his droogies, colluded with Russia. Another fact. The dots are big and bright red. The GOP need to stop shielding this man and purge him. They’d get more out of President Pence anyway. Trump will never back down or admit fault, even if it means being impeached and convicted. Expect a Spring and Summer of much fireworks.

  26. says

    “The Democrats should be loving this!”

    They have no understanding of context. It’s possible to both want Comey fired and decry the circumstances around his firing.

  27. Rich Woods says

    @lynna #45:

    Trump, Pence, Spicer, and other team Trump dunderheads keep repeating their misunderstanding of what Clapper said. Repetition doesn’t make it true.

    Their words aren’t aimed at people who care about truth and reality, only at those who have a great deal of emotional energy invested in having proudly proclaimed against all argument that they voted for Trump because it was clear he would drain the swamp and make America great again.

  28. whywhywhy says

    Anyone else notice Bork’s involvement in Cox’s firing. I just thought he was a pompous toady of the powerful and a judge. I hadn’t realized he was also involved in a Watergate coverup attempt.

  29. mostlymarvelous says


    The AG and the Deputy AG under Nixon at least had the decency to resign instead of gleefully participate.

    I rather suspect Rosenstein hadn’t fully understood the nature of the beasts he’s now dealing with. He’s threatened to resign because Trump, Pence and the rest of the gang have been saying that the sacking was his idea, not Trump’s.

  30. blf says

    Anyone else notice Bork’s involvement in Cox’s firing.

    Yes, he was a critical stooge. As Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge points out:

    […] Solicitor General Bork was instrumental in the “Saturday Night Massacre” […]. Nixon initially ordered U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson resigned rather than carry out the order. Richardson’s top deputy, Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, also considered the order “fundamentally wrong” and also resigned, making Bork the Acting Attorney General. When Nixon reiterated his order, Bork complied and fired Cox, an act found illegal in November of that year in a suit brought by Ralph Nader. […]

    In his posthumously published memoirs, Bork stated that following the firings, Nixon promised him the next seat on the Supreme Court. [… E]ventually, in 1987, Ronald Reagan nominated Bork for the Supreme Court.

    I must admit I was unaware of the Supreme Court angle; that makes it appear he was a bigger immoral toadie thug then came out at his hearing.