Conservatives Say Comey Set a Trap for Trump

Jonathan Chait: “Former FBI Director James Comey has been telling the world about his harrowing encounters with President Trump, who repeatedly demanded his personal loyalty, implored him to stop investigating Michael Flynn, and then dispatched his personal bodyguard to fire him when he failed to comply. But what if we have the story backwards? What if Trump, an innocent family business operator, naïve to the ways of Washington, had been accosted by a scheming, predatory deep state operator? And what if Comey’s firing was a defensive measure against his nefarious trap? This is the scenario Trump’s defenders now envision, and have laid out in columns by The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and the Washington Examiner’s Byron York.”

“Hemingway’s theory is that CNN had the Steele dossier, and could not cover it unless it had a news hook to do so. Comey’s meeting was designed to be the hook. He would tell Trump about the dossier, and then leak the fact that he told Trump to the news media, which ‘provided them the very news hook they sought and needed’ to report on the dossier.”

“York’s analysis is different than Hemmingway’s, but possibly even less plausible. York argues that Trump’s request for loyalty was not an attempt to suborn the FBI into an instrument of his personal control, but instead a defensive and completely reasonable response to what looked like Comey blackmailing him.”

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