By firing Comey, Trump may have fanned the flames he hoped to control

In firing FBI Director James B. Comey, President Trump may have hoped to bring the of Russian interference in the 2016 election under control. Instead, as reaction in Washington spread on Wednesday, the move seemed to carry a large risk of making his troubles worse.

Trump has both privately and publicly seethed for weeks about the investigation into whether anyone connected with his campaign had cooperated with Russian efforts to influence the election.

He was angered further last week that Comey would not publicly back his claim that no evidence of collusion exists.

“The -Trump collusion story is a total hoax” and a “taxpayer funded charade,” he tweeted on Monday, the day White House officials now say he first discussed firing Comey with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein.

But if the goal was to get the investigation over with, firing Comey probably moved matters in the wrong direction, according to both Republican and Democratic former White House officials.

“In the short term it certainly fans the flames,” said Ed Rogers, a longtime Republican strategist and aide to former Republican presidents.

In an email lament circulated among prominent Republicans, A.B. Culvahouse Jr., former Reagan White House counsel and head of Trump’s vice presidential search effort, said the firing “both prolongs the /DOJ investigation and undermines the credibility of the Trump campaign’s denials of no conspiracy with Putin.
 

 

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