James Comey hasn’t exactly faded from the public spotlight since President Donald Trump kicked him out of the FBI last year. In a newly released interview with a Boston NPR affiliate, he came down hard on the Republican Party for by and large refusing to take Trump’s abuse of power seriously. One would hope that interests supposedly concerned about the integrity of the American political system would respect the direction of a former FBI director, but that’s shooting far too high at the moment considering the present state of the Republican Party.
Responding directly to reporting that Trump had sought to push criminal prosecution of Comey (and Hillary Clinton) behind the scenes when White House Counsel Don McGahn was still on the job, the former FBI director commented:
‘I am a little bit numb to the president’s threats and tweets because there is nothing there. Then I stop myself, because it’s wrong for me or anybody else to become numb to the president of the United States announcing that a private citizen should be prosecuted. I say that slowly because I hope Republicans listen to it and realize that if a Democrat were president and did that, their heads would explode. So my question is, why are your heads not exploding now?’
There are a number of available answers for Comey’s question. The GOP has proven overall that they’re committed enough to some of the core tenets of Trump’s modus operandi to ignore where he runs right over the lines that are normally supposed to govern presidential behavior.
Where given the opportunity to rein in the president, Republican leaders have come up short time and time again. In Congress, Republicans who’ve taken on investigating the Russia scandal, for instance, quickly morphed their probe into a look at the nation’s justice system itself, claiming bias and determining on the side there to be no basis for moving forward with a look at possible collusion.
Meanwhile, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is newly reported to have met privately with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in early 2016, around the time he formally joined the Trump team — and Democrats have promised to recharge Congressional scrutiny once they become the majority party in the House next year.
Republicans left plenty of stones unturned to begin with in the Russia scandal, let alone when it comes to Trump’s dictatorial abuse of power in response to the concurrent investigation.
In the meantime, Republicans have just proven that they’re willing to stick right by the president as he mows down American standards in the name of ideology. They’re getting ideological kickbacks while Trump asserts that the lawfully appointed special counsel has gone dangerously rogue and the entire Justice Department should be considered suspicious.
The president has gone after Comey in particular plenty of times in the past, threatening him, for instance, with tapes of conversations between the two of them that ended up not existing but were supposedly going to prove the former justice official wrong about the president’s comments.
Fantasy still won’t trump reality in the legal system, it turns out.
Featured Image via screenshot from the video