A Brief Theory: Trump Tried to Get Comey to End Investigation Because It Had Worked Before

Look at the language former FBI Director James Comey says that President Donald Trump used when entreating Comey to drop an investigation into former NSA Michael Flynn and his connections to Russia.

In a February 14 Oval Office meeting, Trump, who insisted on being alone with Comey to talk about this, brought up Flynn, saying, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

Look at that right there. You know that it's a statement that Trump has used on public officials before who were investigating him or his business or his associates or his odious spunk worm sons. You know that, in some chummy golf course/steak house/posh hotel parlance, with old school tactics that he has clung to his entire life, there was a good chance that Trump offered to hold a fundraiser for a politician in exchange for "letting this go," whether it was labor practices or mob associations or where the investment money was coming from. Indeed, if I were inclined to Menschian conspiracy theories, I could probably make a case that Trump saw the presidency as the ultimate quid pro quo opportunity, as well as a chance to go after incorruptible people like Preet Bharara.

Instead, I'll just say that Trump's request of Comey sounds exactly like the kind of thing rich people ask politicians and officials to do all the time. But, in this case, Trump ran into the kind of person who didn't give a damn about being in the club with him.

In other conversations, Trump tried to get Comey to publicly state that he personally wasn't under investigation. Trump wanted Comey to "lift the cloud" of scandal that was (and is) hanging over his presidency. Then, because he's never not a dick, Trump was willing for others to be hung out to dry if it meant he came away clean: "The President went on to say that if there were some 'satellite' associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him."

Comey's final conversation with Trump veered into a weird kind of intimidation, where you use pretend camaraderie to insinuate the cost of potential betrayal. Trump tried again to get Comey to say to the media that he wasn't under investigation. Comey told Trump that he should go through the usual channels to get that approved, to which Trump said, "“Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know." Comey had no idea what "thing" that was.

This is all slimy, as are most things with Trump. Trump expected everyone to worship at his feet after the election and love him unabashedly for his fake success. Hopefully, he'll discover just far a man can tumble out of a tower and into a swamp.