So Donald Trump fired the man who probably tipped Trump into electoral victory.
I have no idea whether Trump is, as the current Democratic narrative has it, concerned that Comey would find damning evidence against him in the Russia investigation. But regardless of that, I think it’s possibly instructive to see this as a fundamental conflict between Trump and not Comey in particular, but the deep state in general — or perhaps a less fraught phrase would just be the institutional bureaucracy of the US federal government.
It’s clear that Trump wants to be a transformative President, and it’s equally clear that he’s not very popular with the US deep state. I think it’s a mistake to underestimate the power of these institutions — they seemed very effective at very rapidly turning Obama from a number of anti-military campaign promises — and part of my relative sanguinity about Trump’s Presidency has stemmed from a belief that Washington tends to tame the President, not vice versa. (Usually, in my opinion, for ill, but in the case of Trump probably for good).
But the US is not Turkey, and a President who is bold about breaking tradition and who perhaps has little to lose on the public approval front can in fact fire a lot of figures in the deep state. It’ll be interesting — and discomforting — to see the war if this is in fact the first shot fired.
(Not to sound too alarmist. Probably an 80% chance that this is nothing more than either Trump not liking Comey or some ham-fisted attempt to cover up ethical problems.)