Never, in the annals of American politics has a man gone from villain to martyr so quickly.
Indeed, within minutes of his firing by Donald Trump, James Comey ceased being that evil son of a bitch who cost Hillary Clinton the presidency and became a fallen hero in the epic battle against a corrupt autocrat. It is a transmogrification the likes of which we have not seen since the Coptic Church decided Pontius Pilate deserved to be a saint.
The current craziness is so severe, if you believe, "The Daily Show," host, Trevor Noah, we are on the verge of witnessing Trump disband congress and send the 82nd Airborne into Times Square. Of course, Noah is from Africa, where such things happen with disturbing frequency, so one can understand his trepidation.
Besides, who is to say we are immune to a coup d'état? After all, our man, DJT has a proven affinity for tough guys. He sent Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan a warm note of congratulations after Erdogan fixed an election which gave himself dictatorial powers. Then there is the whole vaguely nauseating bromance with Vladimir Putin, not to mention certain debts, as yet unconfirmed, El Don may, or may not owe the Russian president.
Right now, the situation is, as they say, fluid. The narrative, especially the one coming from the White House, changes every few hours. Apparently no one in the west wing, not even Donald Trump, can come up with a plausible reason why James Comey was fired.
My personal favorite was the first excuse--that the head of the FBI was canned because of his malevolent behavior toward Hillary Rodham Clinton a week before the election. That notion was such prima facie bullshit no one saying, or hearing it was able to keep a straight face.
According to initial White House statements, Comey was fired on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Deputy AG Robert Rosenstein. Sessions may have been okay with this explanation, despite pledging to recuse himself from any part of the investigation into a Russian-Trump campaign connection, but, if reports are true, Rosenstein wasn't. Several news outlets have said Sessions' deputy, who allegedly authored the Clinton fiction, threatened to resign rather than take his place under the bus.
Then the big orange guy gave an interview to NBC's Lester Holt. While disparaging Comey personally--"he was a showboat, a grandstander,"--he let us know he would have fired the FBI Director no matter who recommended what. Trump went on to add the whole Russian investigation is a conspiracy of sorts concocted by the democrats who are angry they blew the election.
Well, why not? Let's face it, who among Trump supporters doesn't like a good conspiracy theory?
In the mean time the mainstream media is rife with stories about a January 27th dinner meeting between El Don and Comey. It came right after then Deputy AG, Sally Yates, told administration officials its national security advisor could be compromised by the Russkies. Trump maintains Comey asked for the meeting in order to plead for his job. In addition he claims Brother Comey told him on three different occasions, the dinner being one of them, he wasn't under investigation by the bureau.
Another version of the story, which is being reported by everyone other than FOX News, is Trump set up the dinner and twice asked Comey to pledge loyalty to him personally. Comey refused both times, but promised Mr. Trump he would always be honest with him.
The White House claims Trump, presumably because of his high ethical standards, would never ask the head of the FBI for his personal loyalty. Not only that, but scads of agents in the bureau have been calling Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders to thank Donald Trump for getting rid of the former director.
As of today there is no official explanation why disgruntled FBI agents would call the Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary--who knew the title even existed--under any circumstances. Although it could be the current Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, last seen lurking around White House shrubbery, is now permanently unavailable.
Whatever the case several media outlets are reporting FBI employees have told them James Comey was admired throughout the bureau for his honesty and integrity.
At this point in the chaos, Trump appears to be a man on the run and his White House looks to be in utter confusion. It is so bad the boss was reduced to tweeting, "As a very active president with lots of things happening it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at a podium with perfect accuracy." He added, "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future press briefings and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???"
Being the perpetual adolescent bully boy he is, Trump couldn't help but also tweet, "James Comey better hope there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press."
Ahh yes, quite presidential.
Comparisons to Richard Nixon's infamous, "Saturday Night Massacre," are being made by some of the overwrought talking heads on cable news. It's nonsense, or at the very least premature. A special prosecutor hasn't been fired by the president and the top two Department of Justice officials haven't resigned because they refused to abet his crime.
No, we aren't that far gone yet, but it's easy to see we are getting there. Don Trump might be the greatest con man in the world, but he is also its worst poker player. Every time someone mentions Russia in connection with his election victory, administration, or business life, he's immediately driven into a severe episode of delirium tremens. In other words, he displays the panicked disbelief and anger you see in an amateur after he's gone all in and had his bluff called.
Quite, honestly, what else should we expect from a man who has a third grader's knowledge of American history and the perception democracy is a great idea only so long as it lets him get away with whatever he wants?
Donald Trump's presidency is doomed not because the self proclaimed great negotiator doesn't know how to handle the press, or public. He plays them both like a drum. It's all coming unglued because in his entire adult life no one has ever told him no, then made it stick. It's a revelation he simply doesn't understand, or is willing to put up with.
And there lies the sum of Trevor Noah's fears. How will a run amok egomaniac, who happens to be in charge of the world's deadliest military, react if a pink slip hits his inbox?
The truth is none of us, including jittery South African TV hosts, can know for sure. However, if things keep going the way they have been, the odds are distinctly in favor of us finding out.
sic vita est