Possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign was once little more than a conspiracy theory, but not anymore. The only way to make sense of this week’s stunning events is to conclude that there is something that President Trump desperately wants to hide.
The party-line explanation of why Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey — that it was all about the way Comey handled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails — crumbled within hours. Press secretary Sean Spicer comically ducked behind shrubbery on the White House grounds, hiding from television cameras, to give reporters a confused and disjointed account of the dismissal. Efforts to blame the whole thing on Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein ceased after Rosenstein reportedly threatened to resign.
Well-sourced reports in The Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets agreed on a very different explanation: Trump had grown increasingly angry at the doggedness with which Comey’s FBI was investigating how and why Russia meddled in the election. The president decided to fire Comey, then had Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein come up with a rationale.
If this were a criminal trial, prosecutors would allege that the president was displaying “consciousness of guilt” — that he was acting in a way no innocent person would act. Indeed, the only other president to try to head off an investigation by firing the chief investigator was Richard Nixon.
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