Could Firing of James Comey Mark the Beginning of the End for Trump Presidency?

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Many people are comparing Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey—who only weeks earlier had confirmed the FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign worked with Russia to sway the 2016 election—to the Saturday Night Massacre when President Nixon fired independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Is Comey’s firing the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency? For more, we speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: NBC is reporting this month—this morning House Oversight Ranking Member Elijah Cummings has called for emergency hearings with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Comey. So, Glenn, can you say what the significance of that meeting might be, and also the speculation by some that this is really the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, this is what we were getting at earlier, which is, if you’re the Trump administration and you really believe that Jim Comey has access to incriminating evidence, on some level, the last thing you would want to do is so publicly fire him, especially in the most humiliating manner possible, not notify him—

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Yeah, he didn’t tell him. He didn’t tell his—yeah.

GLENN GREENWALD: Not tell him, right.

AMY GOODMAN: He was briefing people in the L.A. office. I think he—it was on TV.

GLENN GREENWALD: He learned it from TV. So they fired him in the most humiliating, vindictive manner possible. You could not have converted somebody into an enemy more reliably than what they did. And I think a lot of people would agree in Washington, Comey is a very shrewd operator. He knows how to stick knives into people’s backs without his fingerprint. The last person you want as an enemy freelancing against you is Jim Comey. So I think there’s going to be all kinds of really fascinating developments, now that Comey is freed from what had been this kind of stifling role as FBI director, where he really couldn’t speak publicly about much of anything.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And why, do you think—why didn’t Trump tell even senior White House officials that he was intending to do this?

GLENN GREENWALD: So I think one of the most difficult tasks, literally, on the planet is to try and divine the thinking of the Trump White House. You never know the ratio of malice versus ineptitude. They’re so inept as a staff. It could just be they have no idea how to do anything, or it could be the way they did it to Mitt Romney: They wanted to humiliate him in as public of a manner as possible.

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