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Time for Conservatives and Republicans to Stand Up to Trump

It must be more than difficult to work in the Trump White House. For two days, the president’s spokespeople -- including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer, and even Vice President Mike Pence -- have told the media that Donald Trump fired James Comey after reading the letter penned by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who had only been in office for two weeks.

Rosenstein himself, as the Wall Street Journal reported, then went to White House counsel Don McGahn to ask for a correction to what he thought was “an inaccurate White House depiction of the events surrounding FBI Director James Comey’s firing.” Intimating that he might possibly resign his office, Rosenstein explained that he could not work in an environment where facts were not accurately reported.

We know that Rosenstein wrote the memo after being asked to do so by the president; Trump subsequently used the memo to justify his decision to fire Comey. Rosenstein’s letter is a carefully constructed and convincing accounting of Comey’s many errors of judgment that violated longstanding rules about what the FBI could say about ongoing investigations. But Rosenstein did not recommend that Comey be fired, noting that although Trump had the power to do so, “the decision should not be taken lightly.”

Finally, in his interview on NBC News with anchor Lester Holt, Trump contradicted his entire team’s talking points of the previous two days, and told Holt that Comey was a “showboat” and a “grandstander,” that he “was going to fire him” anyway, and that he had made his decision before reading the Rosenstein letter.

Next, Trump said that “this thing with Russia is a made-up story,” almost an explicit admission that Comey was fired because Trump wanted an end to the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the U. S. election, as well as any possible ties between members of Trump’s campaign team and Russia. He added that “it should have been over with a long time ago.” Finally, Trump reiterated:

Regardless of the recommendation, I was going to fire Comey. … When I decided to do it, this Russia thing, with Trump and Russia is an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election they should have won.

We all remember Trump saying, during the campaign, that he “loves WikiLeaks” and asking the Russians to release all Hillary’s emails, if they in fact had them. Moreover, this past January, Trump asked Comey to stay on as FBI director, and publicly praised him on multiple occasions. Indeed, during the campaign, Trump praised Comey for his announcement about Hillary’s emails that darkened her chances for winning the election, and Trump said that Comey "showed guts" for having made his statement. Now, one of the reasons put forth as to why Comey should have been fired is his handling of the issues surrounding Hillary’s emails.