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Is Trump Unraveling?

May 18, 2017
Plain English Version

Former F.B.I Director James Comey, President Donald Trump, and General Michael Flynn.

Three big events make many people think Trump is unraveling.

The firing of James Comey

The job of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) is law enforcement. Its oversight includes the federal government. James. Comey was the head of the F.B.I.

The F.B.I. was looking into the campaign of Donald Trump. There were charges about the actions of the campaign staff. Had any talked with people from the Russian government? Remember, Russia tried to interfere in the campaign. Trump always said the charges were not true.

Can the president fire the head of the F.B.I.? Yes, he can. President Trump did just that. He fired James Comey. So what is the problem? The problem is the story the president told about why he fired Comey.

The first story was that Trump was following advice from the Department of Justice. Except that the writer of the advice said it did not recommend firing Comey. He said that he wrote a memo saying he did not approve of the way Comey had dealt with the Hillary Clinton email story.

The “advice from the department” story did not make a lot of sense to people. Then Trump said he fired Comey because he was not doing a good job. “The F.B.I. is in turmoil,” he said. Nobody at the F.B.I. agreed with that. Then Trump said that Comey was “showboating.”

Now, it looks likely that Trump just did not like Comey. The reasons given by the White House did not hold up. That makes for a credibility problem for President Trump.

The President with the Russian Foreign Minister in the White House.

Sharing classified information with Russia

President Trump met with high-level Russian officials. He told them he knew about a plot. What was the plot? ISIS was working on ways to put explosives in laptops and set them off on airplanes. It makes sense to warn other governments. What is important is what and how you disclose information. What is the problem? Trump gave the Russians classified Intel.

Trump said as president he could do what he wanted to do. Classified information was not classified when he said so. So the story went changed to “no classified information was told to the Russians.”

An advisor went on to hint that the president did not know if he was giving classified information or not. It looked like he was just boasting about how smart the U.S. is.

Experts say Trump helped the Russians. They would use what he said to learn how he got the information. It could endanger intelligence assets. And it would give Russia data to help the enemies of the U.S. Did the president know what he was doing?

Trump tells Comey to lay off General Flynn

Trump met with F.B.I. Director Comey last February. Comey said Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to let this go, to let Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

How do we know Trump said this? Comey went back to his office and wrote down the conversation in a memo. That is something F.B.I. Agents often do. Trump said he never made these comments.

What was the investigation about? The investigation was looking into the behavior of General Flynn. Did he lie about his relations with Russia?

Through all three of these events, Trump kept stoking the fire. He hinted he had tapes of conversations. He keeps tweeting comments that undermine the explanations put out by the White House.

Watchers are saying President Trump’s office is the scene of mayhem. Republicans are saying what is happening is ruining their chances of passing laws. And it harms their chances of being re-elected.

A long time Trump observer said this is just Trump being Trump.

Source: The New York Times

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