I still remember where I was standing when I first heard that FBI Director James Comey had been fired on May 9, 2017. When the story broke, details were scarce, but there was no shaking the feeling that a serious crime had been committed, a blatant power grab by the man occupying the Oval Office. Comey himself thought it was a joke when he saw the headline. Now, we are getting a much more desolate picture of the eight days between Comey’s firing and Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel – in which Trump’s presidency and the stability of the nation were both in doubt.
We know this because of Andrew McCabe’s newly published memoir, based on extensive memos he had written while fearing for his job. Shortly after the firing, Comey’s own detailed memos began to leak. Now, yet another scandal of life in the Trump White House has come to the surface – that Donald Trump gave his son-in-law top security clearance against the wishes of not only intelligence officials but his own White House counsel and chief of staff.
There was a reason that The New York Times was able to cover the story with so much depth. Both White House counsel Donald McGahn and John Kelly created extensive memos documenting Trump’s requests in great detail. The ongoing pattern here is that an alarming number of senior staffers have been asked to do morally unconscionable or downright illegal acts for this administration – morally questionable requests that break democratic social norms, such as Trump’s deranged request to have law enforcement investigate his political rivals – and they in turn take a great deal of notes.
Michael Cohen was somewhat ahead of the game, with over a hundred tapes recorded over the course of a decade as Trump’s fixer. Each of these people who documented Trump’s crimes feared the political or legal repercussions that could have occurred. It’s interesting to note that the leaks became more frequent leading up to Cohen’s hearing. Our picture of one man’s assault on many of the nation’s most cherished institutions is coming further into focus – and it is safe to expect a great deal moredocuments are currently in the possession of Robert Mueller – perhaps a factor that has stayed the hand of Trump and his Attorneys General from firing him – that will gradually be released to the public. One day Trump will be answering for his crimes, and we must hold onto this growing cache of evidence – a blueprint of rising authoritarianism, if we are to keep it from ever happening again.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making