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Trump-Russia scandal will stretch the supposed boundaries of bipartisanship
If you listen to the voices of some reasonable rational Republicans with years of experience in politics, they are not quite ready to yell or scream concerning the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Tom Davis, former Congressman and widely respected moderate, told me that when it comes to the subject of possible presidential impeachment or resignation, we are "a long way from that."
When pressed on the disturbing aspects of this affair, he uses phrases such as "I don't think at this point" or "it remains to be seen." Davis defends President Trump with the all-encompassing line, "There is no smoking gun."
But he does not hesitate to criticize the way in which the firing was done. Davis claims that Trump was nicer to the people he fired on his TV show, "The Apprentice."
To the central question, are there Republicans who have the guts to challenge Trump and one day go to the White House la Nixon, like Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott and Robert Griffith and tell him in person: "It's time to go."
Davis immediately says "Oh, sure."
But I'm not so sure.
Pete Teeley, a savvy and perceptive observer of the political scene was far more emphatic and blunt. Teeley was George H.W. Bush's press secretary when he was vice president and was the spokesman for Sen. Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.).
Teeley is not the least bit diplomatic when commenting on the current situation. Describing the White House staff and operation he states, "These people don't know what they're doing."
The White House needs some "adults" working there.
As for Trump himself, Teeley says of the President, "has no idea of the office or its history."
To those who claim he will change or grow in office, Teeley doesn't buy that:
"He is not going to change."
And to the issue of stability and consistency: "This is the roller-coaster administration."
I thought it fair to begin this column with some Republican first takes. To me, there is so much to say and cover that it cannot all be done today in this one space. But allow me to stress and emphasize some statements that Trump himself has made that cannot be ignored.
First on Monday, before the late Tuesday afternoon firing, Trump tweeted, "The Russia-Trump collusion is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer charade end,."
Was that tweet but the clear overture to the Tuesday action?
What I firmly feel is even more important, is the actual firing letter where Trump wrote to Comey and said, "While I greatly appreciate your informing me, on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation ..."
Is this statement true?
Did Comey personally talk to Trump and tell him that three times? According to Trump, Comey said he wasn't under investigation.
Comey has been invited by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va) to come before the Senate Intelligence Committee and testify this coming Tuesday.
Will Comey refute Trump?
Then what should happen?
Right off the bat, let me say I don't believe for a second that the reason Trump fired Comey was because "he wasn't doing his job."
As Richard Milhous Nixon would say, "Let me be perfectly clear."
Trump fired Comey because the investigation was "accelerating" and getting too close to him. The New York Times reported that Comey last week had asked for more personnel and resources.
Trump views the Presidency as nothing more than an extension of his personal business empire. So you have a problem with an employee - fire him.
What is now needed is a Watergate-style special bipartisan Senate committee which will honestly and truly investigate what has happened. Otherwise the FBI will be stymied, crippled and impeded in their investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
This newly formed Senate committee will bring to bear the necessary political weight to find the truth and tell the country who the bad guys are.
A highly unlikely person to comment on all of this is Timothy Naftali. Naftali is the former director of the Nixon Library. These are his words: "Unless Attorney General Sessions can prove malfeasance or gross negligence by Comey, the timing of this action further deepens suspicions that President Trump is covering up something."
One thing is definitely certain concerning this entire episode and it was best summed up by a friend, Dr. Victoria Casey.
She proclaimed, "This is the Titanic looking for an iceberg."
Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner. Previously, he was the political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington's NPR affiliate, where he co-hosted the "D.C. Politics Hour With Mark Plotkin." He later became the political analyst for WTOP-FM, Washington's all-news radio station, where he hosted "The Politics Hour With Mark Plotkin." He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.