Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
James Comey’s firing, which came as the former FBI director was investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, reverberated through Washington, and everyone jumped on the bandwagon of comparing President Trump to famous crook Richard Nixon.
“This is Nixonian,” Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said in a statement.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, also invoked Nixon: “Not since Watergate have our legal systems been so threatened and our faith in the independence and integrity of those systems so shaken.”
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin also got in on the fun when asked if the move was really “Nixonian,” telling CBS News: “I’m old enough to remember the ‘Nixonian move’ as we speak, and it didn’t come out so well for President Nixon.”
Trump World gadfly Roger Stone, who was a staffer in the Nixon White House and literally has the disgraced ex-president’s face tattooed on his body, reflected fondly on the news, telling the The New York Times, “Somewhere Dick Nixon is smiling.”
(Axios has a completist list of the elected Democrats sharing similar sentiments.)
It’s not a perfect comparison, but it does hold water. Although—as the Nixon Presidential Library pointed out on Twitter—Nixon didn’t fire his FBI director, he did order the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1972, in what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” Cox, who was probing the Watergate burglary, had subpoenaed Nixon for copies of White House tapes. Both Nixon’s attorney general and his deputy resigned rather than axe Cox, so doing the president’s dirty work fell to Solicitor General Robert H. Bork, the third in command in the Justice Department.
I started to write that Trump hadn’t tweeted since the Comey news, but then he appeared, as if summoned, to slam Sen. Blumenthal’s service record:
- Anderson Cooper gave Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s unflappable hack, a huge eye roll on his show last night.
- Fox News anchor Shep Smith gave the most open statement yet about his sexuality during a talk at the University of Mississippi, telling students, “I cover the news. I deal with holy hell around me. I go home to the man I’m in love with.”
- A reporter in West Virginia was arrested after asking Health and Human Services head Tom Price a question, behavior deemed too “aggressive” for the Secret Service.
WHAT FRESH HELL
No, actually, this one is good: David Spade, owned by a walking teen meme.