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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 26th May 2017 > TUESDAY AFTERNOON MASSACRE

TUESDAY AFTERNOON MASSACRE

President Donald Trump seemed to think removing FBI Director James Comey would be a clean kill. He was wrong

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JAMES COMEY talked too much. He talked too much about Hillary Clinton’s emails. And then he talked too much, too late, about the Russians and Team Trump.

Both exercises got him i red. President Donald Trump and his most rabid advisers—among them self-proclaimed dirty trickster Roger Stone, according to some accounts—felt they had an opening to take down Comey. They thought it would be a clean kill, just like their immigration executive orders. Again, they were wrong.

You can see their reasoning: During his May 3 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Russian subversion in the 2016 elections, Comey was drawn into an exchange with the panel’s Republicans, during which he vastly, and unaccountably, exaggerated the number of emails Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin copied to the home computer of her disgraced husband, Anthony Weiner. When ProPublica got wind that the FBI was preparing to “supplement” Comey’s testimony with a correction, Team Trump saw their moment to take him out.

Indeed, the speed with which the Justice Department published its detailed rationale for i ring Comey suggested that somebody allied with Trump had teed up ProPublica for the hit. Within hours of the published story, the administration released a memorandum from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that went on and on about Comey’s bumbling handling of the Clinton case. There was no mention, of course, of the FBI director’s probe into Team Trump’s connections to Kremlin operatives and oligarchs.

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THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA James Comey talked too much. He talked too much about Hillary Clinton’s emails. And then he talked too much, too late, about the Russians and Team Trump. Both exercises got him fired. President Donald Trump and his most rabid advisers among them self-proclaimed dirty trickster Roger Stone, according to some accounts felt they had an opening to take down Comey. They thought it would be a clean kill, just like their immigration executive orders. Again, they were wrong.