Let me see if I have this straight.
After a conversation in the Oval office with President Trump, James Comey, then the Director of the FBI, remembered a memo to himself in which he recorded Trump saying regarding the investigation of his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, “I hope you can let this go.” Or at least, as someone who supposedly had read the memo and then supposedly read an accurate quote from it over the phone to a reporter at the New York Times.
First, of course, Trump should have—as usual—shut up. I’d recommend that he move the White House portrait of Calvin Coolidge to the Oval Office and study it daily. (President Reagan hung it in the Cabinet Room not because he needed advice on not talking—Reagan rarely made a verbal slip—but because he admired Coolidge’s exercise of the office). Trump has much to learn from Silent Cal that would benefit himself and his presidency, not to mention the Republic.
But assuming that that’s what Trump actually said, and that that’s what Comey wrote in his memo to himself, and that that’s what was read over the phone to the Times reporter (unlikely since this is third-hand hearsay, inadmissible in any court, analogous to the child’s game of telephone) is
that so bad? Does it really differ substantially from “I hope the weather will be nice tomorrow”? To be sure, it would have been better had he said “I hope you find you’re able to let this go,” or “I hope it turns out that Flynn did nothing wrong.” But no one has ever accused President Trump of excess verbal precision.
But look what the headlines were the next day. The Times wrote, “Trump Appealed to Comey to Halt Inquiry into Aide.” The Wall Street Journal wrote, “Trump Asked Comey to Drop Probe.” The New York Daily News headline was “Make It Go Away.” All three of these headlines go way beyond what Trump actually said (again assuming that a quote of quote of a quote is accurate).
I would say these headlines were grotesque journalistic malpractice, except I don’t think that that is the case. Instead, I think they are a part of an at least semi-conscious and deliberate attempt by the Washington establishment—journalists, Democrats, and some Republicans—to delegitimize the presidency of Donald Trump and to render him incapable of governing.
Liberalism, like a Chinese dynasty that has lost the mandate of heaven, is lashing out in its death throes, desperate to keep power, even to the point of trying to sabotage the president of the country of which they are citizens, a president elected by the people in a democratic process they say they cherish.
As Victor Davis Hanson said on Tucker Carlson last night, “It’s a slow-motion coup d’état.”