Six days on, the administration is dealing with damaging consequences of that decision. The White House staff faces a credibility crisis following their shifting explanations for Comey’s dismissal. Republican leaders in Congress are dealing with another unwelcome controversy ignited by their President. And Democrats are on offense, sensing an opening ahead of midterm elections next year.
It’s nothing new that Trump is unleashing disruption and discord — that’s been his style all along.
But Comey’s dismissal during his investigation into Trump’s campaign over alleged links to Russian election meddling took the sense of political dislocation in the capital to new extremes.
Trump is suddenly fighting off accusations that he abused his power and even put himself in legal and constitutional jeopardy, with his Republican allies under fire for not doing more to rein him in.
“The founding fathers, in their genius, created a system of three co-equal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and balances,” Clapper said on “State of the Union.”
“I feel as though that is under assault and is eroding.”
The White House’s current political woes are a direct result of Trump’s own actions, and he is showing no sign of changing his approach.
“It’s the outsiders who change the world and who make a real and lasting difference,” Trump said at a commencement address Saturday.
“The more that a broken system tells you that you’re wrong, the more certain you should be that you must keep pushing ahead, you must keep pushing forward.”
Searching for Comey’s replacement
Trump’s suggestion Friday that there may be “tapes” of his conversations with Comey further exacerbated the sense of crisis gripping Washington.
In the short term, the furor is complicating his search for a new FBI chief, one he told reporters Saturday he hopes to finish this week.
The President must find someone who has the confidence of the bureau’s rank and file, is willing to serve under intense political pressure from his own White House and can win Senate confirmation.
The West Wing staff must negotiate this daunting assignment with their own fates in question, amid rampant rumors of a major personnel shakeup after Trump sabotaged efforts of his own team to explain the Comey firing.