Donald Trump’s “attacks on federal law enforcement” took a “vindictive” turn last weekend, say Alex Ward and Zachary Fryer-Biggs in Vox. The “drama” kicked off last Friday with the firing of FBI deputy-director Andrew McCabe, just 26 hours before he would have qualified for his full pension. In a subsequent Twitter fusillade, Trump attacked McCabe, former FBI director James Comey and, for the first time directly by name, special counsel Robert Mueller, calling his Russia probe a “witch hunt” and prompting fears that Mueller would be the next to be fired.
Over the past year, Trump has repeatedly condemned McCabe as “emblematic” of FBI bias. He described Friday as a “great day for Democracy”, asserting that McCabe “knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels”, reports The Daily Telegraph. After being fired, McCabe broke his silence in an “explosive” statement, accusing Trump of waging an “ongoing war on the FBI” and saying that his firing showed what happens when “people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people”.
“Seeing someone stand up to a bully is cathartic,” says The New York Times. McCabe was joined by former CIA director John Brennan, who accused Trump of “moral turpitude” and predicted he would eventually take his “rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history”. But while such remarks may be deserved, they “shouldn’t really be coming from those whose integrity depends on them remaining outside the political fray”. They merely provide Trump with fodder. It’s the “morally absent” GOP leadership in Congress who should be speaking up. So far only a handful of Republicans, including Jeff Flake, who said that firing Mueller was “a massive red line that can’t be crossed”, have done so. More should. Meanwhile McCabe et al should heed the old warning about wrestling a pig. “You only get covered in mud – and besides, the pig likes it.”