Firing James Comey was Trump’s dumbest move…until he admitted during the Lester Holt NBC Interview it was because of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russian ties..
Leaks, leaks, leaks
Working with Congress
Ramping up investigations into Trump — even beyond Russia
Over the years, Trump seems to have been mixed up with the Mafia, and his casinos have paid civil fines for evading money laundering rules. He’s been involved in empty-box tax scams, and his shenanigans with the Trump Foundation may have constituted criminal tax evasion. Still, as Edward Ericson Jr. details, he’s never faced a serious criminal investigation despite repeatedly bumping up against one.
There are certain standards for what information can “predicate” an investigation. But the FBI, Wittes says, has “a fair bit of discretion” among “individual agents [and] field offices” as to when to start looking at something. He said he could easily imagine that some agents, furious about Comey’s firing, might start looking into other allegations about Trump that the FBI may have received tips about — be they on Russia or something else.
“If you think about how sprawling the allegations are about this group of people, and you imagine that the bureau is more rather than less angry,” Wittes says, “that might very well shade the way you understand allegations that may drift in your door: how seriously you take them, how you weigh them against traditional predication standards.”
Wittes suggests an analogy to the way the FBI investigates organized crime, the arrest of Al Capone on tax evasion charges being the most famous example. When someone is a target of suspicion on one set of charges that the FBI can’t necessarily make, the bureau is more likely to go after them on whatever case it can conceivably put together.
“If you believe someone’s dirty, and you get what would otherwise be a tip that you might not investigate against another person — well, it’s a mobster,” he says.
The point, in short, is that Trump is vulnerable and the FBI is extremely powerful. Starting a fight with the bureau is inadvisable for every president, and especially so for a president with a history of legal problems. But by firing Comey, Trump has invited war.