The axing of James Comey will not be the end of the Russia investigation. But it may be the beginning of the end of the Trump administration.
Let’s assume the worst immediate scenario for the moment. That the Vichy Republicans in D.C. — whether Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, or the big-bark-no-bite John McCain and Lindsey Graham — either block or pocket veto the Democrats’ calls for an independent prosecutor. And that somehow Trump and Jeff Sessions (who claims to have recused himself from all matters Russian, but clearly has not) ram one of their personal toadies through the Senate as the next FBI director: Rudy Giuliani perhaps, or Michael Mukasey, or, heaven knows, Jeanine Pirro. Nonetheless, the new director’s attempts to further derail the ongoing investigation will be met with revolt by the career professionals within the organization — an unwinding that may already be happening. There will be chaos. There will be leaks. There will be resignations. There will be synergy, clandestine or otherwise, with the Senate and House investigations into Trump and Russia. There will be blood. After the news of the firing broke last night, McCain called the scandal “a centipede” and made an unassailable prediction: “I guarantee you there will be more shoes to drop, I can just guarantee it. There’s just too much information that we don’t have that will be coming out.”
Anyone in criminal jeopardy will be out to save his or her own butt, not to protect Donald J. Trump. This includes Michael Flynn — whom Trump is trying to hush up by continuing to sing his praises in public, presumably because Flynn knows enough to blackmail Trump (just as Russia knew enough to blackmail Flynn). My guess is that Flynn, who took such delight in calling for Hillary Clinton to be locked up, does not want to go to prison. Nor, I imagine, do the other White House hands who may be implicated in the 18-day gap that separated Sally Yates’s informing the White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn was lying about his dealings with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Flynn’s exit.
The White House will be outwitted and outmaneuvered at nearly every turn by the events to come. Let’s not forget the good news that came out of the Comey firing: It turns out that Trump, who has no idea of what is required to be a competent president sitting on top of the vast federal government, also turns out to have no idea of how to be a competent gangster sitting on top of what increasingly seems to be a somewhat-less-vast Trump-Kushner family criminal enterprise. Trump actually thought that Americans could be duped into believing that the abrupt Comey firing was triggered by Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation. He actually thought that Democrats, some of whom blame Comey above all others for Clinton’s defeat, would go along with the firing at a time when the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s collusion with a foreign foe to sabotage the election in the Republicans’ favor. And, as we saw from all the frantic White House scurrying last night, Trump and those around him were shocked — shocked! — to discover that the firing precipitated an uproar in Washington and beyond.
You can read the rest at New York Magazine.