The decision of President Donald Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey is generating a fevered, near-maniacal response that is out of proportion to the asserted wrong….
But political blunders are one thing, and a constitutional crisis is another. Yet in Washington’s fevered environment, Trump’s many critics take evident delight in trying to outdo each other in their denunciations of the president. Thus Vox’s Matthew Yglesias takes the position that although the time for impeachment has not yet arrived, Trump’s decision to fire Comey carries with it (as a headline put it) “a whiff of obstruction of justice,” which is an impeachable offense if proved.
Writing in the New Yorker, Jeffrey Frank argues that Comey’s decision, while not (yet?) an impeachable offense, is “far more problematic and dangerous than the one facing the nation forty-four years ago.” At that time, President Richard Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, which prompted the resignation of both Elliot Richardson, the attorney general, and William Ruckelshaus, his deputy. Robert Bork was left to discharge that unhappy task, for which he paid a heavy political price 14 years later when he was denied a seat on the Supreme Court.