Nobody can accuse Andrew McCarthy of being anti-Trump. McCarthy defended Trump’s travel ban executive order in its original form. He’s said the Susan Rice unmasking revelation rises to the level of Watergate and disagrees with others that what’s contained in the Comey “memo” does not rise to the degree of obstruction of justice.
It’s important to buttress any sniping that McCarthy is just some NeverTrump hack who wants to stand in line to throw daggers at President Trump because his latest piece is a strong rebuke to Trump’s latest smear of Jim Comey.
For what it may be worth, I think the “Russia collusion” aspect of the president’s remarks misses the point. Despite my admiration for my friend David French’s considerable legal skills, I have been underwhelmed by his theory of obstruction by multiple steps (i.e., that Trump may have obstructed the FBI’s Russia investigation not merely by pressuring Comey to drop the probe of Michael Flynn, but by a series of actions of which the Trump-Comey conversation is just part). When it gets down to brass tacks, the “obstruction” issue hinges on whether there is any real proof of knowing collusion between the Trump camp and the Putin camp. If that were to emerge, the obstruction would be a slam dunk. If it remains a febrile Democrat hope forever in search of evidence, there is no step in David’s pattern that can’t be explained away.
He goes on:
No, the real question raised by the president’s latest intemperate remarks and the company in which they were made is whether the president knows the good guys from the bad guys.
Jim Comey is a patriot. That I have disagreed with him on some big things, does not change that. Disagreeing is what Americans do – that’s self-government by people who care passionately about how we are governed.
But let’s assume for argument’s sake that I am wrong. Let’s say that, as Sean Spicer says, Comey is a grandstander who has intentionally politicized an investigation in order to undermine the president. He’s still not the Russians. “America First,” remember? Comey is an American who believes in America; Lavrov and Kislyak are Putin operatives who oppose America at every turn. Comey believes in freedom and the rule of law; the Putin regime believes in Soviet tyranny and the rule of Putin.
Comey is one of us. Lavrov and Kislyak are two of them.
There is no excuse for a president of the United States to run down an American for the consumption of our Russian adversaries – particularly an American who is fighting against Russia’s operations against our country. It is indefensible.
I hope some others are paying attention. There are pro-Trump people who are so reflexively willing to defend Trump, that while they may not agree with what Trump said, they’re certainly not calling him out.
McCarthy goes on to agree that he feels Jim Comey revealed too much about ongoing investigations but also made the argument the President could stop it. He could simply order Comey not to testify citing the necessity not to discuss ongoing investigations and that if there was anything Congress needed to know it should be made in a closed-door session.
Trump didn’t do that, instead, he smeared Comey to our Russian counterparts. McCarthy closes:
But I would not be laboring under the delusion that the leaking of what Trump said is more outrageous than the substance of what Trump said. What the president said, especially in light of whom he said it to, is reprehensible.
Yes, it is.