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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

While some continue to question President Donald Trump’s fitness for office, he’s doing himself no favors by talking incoherently and seeming to claim he has wide-ranging powers even before he was ever elected.

In comments to The Hill, Trump said in a recent interview that he should have fired former FBI Director James Comey — an action that launched special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the president and his campaign — long before he was even president.

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries,” Trump told the outlet. “I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. … I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don’t want him there when I get there.”

At one point in the quote, Trump seems to perhaps realize that what he’s saying is nonsensical. He had no capacity, of course, to fire Comey before his inauguration. He tries to cover this up a bit by suggesting he could have put a statement out that he would fire Comey if elected, but even this makes little sense.

By the time Trump had one the Republican primaries, Comey had yet to come out with his controversial statement that both exonerated Hillary Clinton of any criminal activity regarding her private email server while also harshly criticizing her actions. That breach of procedure, along with his decision to send Congress a letter saying he was reopening the investigation days before the election, was a part of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s justification for firing Comey.

But of course, we know why Trump fired Comey, and it has nothing to do with Rosenstein’s justifications. He didn’t like that Comey was overseeing the Russia investigation that was examining ties between his campaign and the Kremlin. Trump’s post-hoc claims and justifications — even the assertions that are obviously absurd — are just more smoke and mirrors designed to distract from that fact.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.