The scandals have come so thick and fast that they have almost begun to cancel each other out – each new one obliterates the memory of the last. Like everyone else, most of the right is now debating . Some agree with progressives that it stinks to high heaven, others will say and do anything to defend Trump, and others still see it as an opportunity to direct even more domestic surveillance and harassment at Muslims.
Few are seeing it as many liberals do: the last straw for this administration.
Publication: The American Conservative
Author: Rod Dreher,and the subject of an in recent weeks.
Why you should read it: Dreher’s short, sharp post shows that the bizarre circumstances surrounding Trump’s firing of Comey have perplexed people across the political spectrum.
Excerpt: “Either Trump is a colossal idiot, or he is hiding something, and is a colossal idiot about trying to cover it up. Either way, I don’t see how anybody can take what Trump has done here at face value.”
Publication: Grabien News
Author: Staff writer
Why you should read it: This is a quickfire listicle from a clickbait news site that doesn’t even seem to have a coherent political position. What makes it important to us is that Drudge linked to it and tweeted it, and that tweet was retweeted by Trump to his almost 30 million followers. This sequence of events reminds us of a number of things: the hyperreality of Trump’s social media presidency, the way his worldview is formed by sympathetic conservative media, and the way he grabs on to anything he can in the interests of self-justification.
Excerpt: “Even before the 2016 campaign, the FBI endured a number of humiliations under Comey’s tenure. Most damning were revelations that the FBI was generally aware of almost every terrorist who successfully struck America over the last eight years.”
Publication: Washington Post
Author: Hugh Hewitt is a conservative talkshow host, an author and a lawyer who did some time serving the Reagan administration, and has a professorship at Chapman University. He works his schtick as the voice of erudition in conservative media, but sometimes this just amounts to a higher standard of sophistry.
Why you should read it: Hewitt’s column is an attempt to wave away the Comey firing, which others are interpreting as brazenly corrupt. This has nothing to do with Russia, he insists – it’s all about Comey’s own record, which undermined confidence in the FBI. It’s a reminder that unlike the Watergate situation, in which, eventually, the whole of the media was gunning for Nixon, we now live in an era when powerful individuals and entire outlets will be on hand to hose down Trump’s proliferating scandals and energise his supporters. Apart from anything else, this will make it much tougher for Republican legislators to move against the president.
Excerpt: “Apparently, the new deputy attorney general, Rod J Rosenstein, shared exactly that view and expressed it succinctly in his three-page memo to the attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Confidence in the FBI would not come back until a new director was in place, and that, of course, requires that Comey be fired. Not a decision to be taken lightly, Rosenstein argued, but one he recommended that Sessions make. Sessions reviewed the recommendation, concurred and forwarded a joint recommendation to the president, who agreed.
Anyone who thinks this is connected to a cover-up of ‘Russian collusion’ has to believe that both Rosenstein and Sessions would participate in such a corrupt scheme. I don’t. It is, in fact, absurd to think that. Reread the Rosenstein memo – a few times. There’s the story. Comey was wrong in July, wrong in subsequent statements, wrong as recently as last week and refused to admit error. The story is a straight-line one, and it’s about Rosenstein.”
Publication: Los Angeles Times
Author: Jonah Goldberg is a frontbencher at National Review and an indefatigable conservative talking head. With the publication of his book Liberal Fascism, he cemented his position as the nation’s leading purveyor of false equivalencies and pretzel-shaped historical arguments.
Why you should read it: Trump’s trashing of democratic norms is – get this – actually liberals’ fault, if you really think about it. When Trump sees a crude Stephen Colbert monologue, or hears a judge editorializing about his policies, it emboldens him to, say, fire the director of the FBI who is investigating his campaign. This is the way “movement” conservatives will avoid examining their own role in the rise of Trump: by making convoluted arguments that pin his outrages on the left.
Excerpt: “Reasonable people can disagree with the policy merits of the ban, legally, morally, politically and strategically. But what I find troubling is the way various judges have taken to acting like pundits weighing in on Trump’s campaign rhetoric. For instance, Hawaii judge Derrick Watson, of the ninth circuit, responded to the idea that Trump’s past utterances are irrelevant with this preening statement: ‘The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has.’
Historically, paying such deference to political rhetoric is highly irregular. The motivations of politicians, real or perceived, are not normally given any weight and virtually never disqualify legal language ‘between the four corners of the page’ – the text of the executive order itself, in this case.”
Publication: Conservative Review
Author: Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor at Conservative Review. He used to be at Breitbart, and appeared on Steve Bannon’s radio show. He also has his own podcast,.
Why you should read it: Improbably, Horowitz argues that Comey was insufficiently tough on the hard right’s designated internal enemies. He urges the appointment of a new director who will enact more surveillance on Muslim communities in the US, and effectively halt refugee inflows from the Middle East – or, in rightwing jargon, “ignore political correctness and confront the truth”. Expect this drumbeat to get louder among the “creeping Sharia” crowd, for whom no amount of repression of Muslims will ever be enough.
Excerpt: “If the president truly wants to distract from the ‘Russia issue’, he should choose a new director and make it all about counter-terrorism and homeland security. He must also fire the deputy director, Andrew McCabe, who is a liberal hack who failed to disclose his wife’s ties to the Clinton network and Terry McAuliffe. Trump should appoint a director and deputy director who not only have a distinguished reputation in law enforcement but who actually understand the threat doctrine of Islamism and how Islamist terrorists infiltrate the west with that doctrine. They must understand the Muslim Brotherhood, Sharia doctrine, and the threat of the Hijra – conquest through immigration.”