Foes and fans of President Donald Trump might finally have something to agree on.
This latest turn in the FBI mess is bad news for him.
Questions abound about fired FBI Director James Comey reportedly writing notes in February that Trump had asked him to stop probing Trump’s ex-national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, in connection with Russia.
“I hope you can let this go,” the notes quote Trump saying.
Whether he said that or not, it seems Comey didn’t let it go.
If accurate, the story shows Trump intervening in a Justice Department investigation with potentially huge impact on himself.
Skeptical questions are in order about this sudden emergence.
Would Comey have kept this to himself if Trump had not canned him last week? Can it be corroborated? Will anyone produce the notes for congressional or public review?
Flynn has yet to be charged with anything. Is a criminal case in the offing?
This is bad for Trump because it raises the prospect of self-dealing, and puts the phrase “obstruction of justice” on some lips in Washington, D.C.
If true, it casts fresh doubt on the new president’s respect for the law and his oath, and resounds with the accustomed criticism of his public behavior as cavalier, even reckless.
The White House is doing what any administration would have done when confronted with this kind of allegation.
“The president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end an investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” said a statement.
“This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”
The new controversy is also bad for Trump because it puts in a potentially sinister light the cryptic message he tweeted about how Comey better hope there are no “tapes” of their conversation — in which he said Comey told him Trump wasn’t an FBI target.
Rather than dim the spotlight on the muck, this brightens it.
Hillary Clinton had trouble from the FBI, but — to the relief of millions — never became president. Now, Trump seems to be drawn into a swamp of his own making.
The revelation about the notes could make more plausible the notion that the Comey firing was about the Russia probe after all.
Plausible, maybe, but not proved.
Serious inquiries await.