THE BIG IDEA: After the president fired James Comey, the cloud hanging over the White House just got bigger and darker.
— Donald Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants and amateurs who are either unwilling or unable to tell him no. He lacks a David-Gergen-like figure who is wise to the ways of Washington and has the stature to speak up when the president says he wants to fire an FBI director who is overseeing the counterintelligence investigation into whether his associates coordinated with Moscow. Without such a person, Trump just walked headlong into a political buzz saw.
— Senior officials at the White House were caught off guard by the intense and immediate blowback to the president’s stunning decision to fire James Comey. They reportedly expected Republicans to back him up and thought Democrats wouldn’t complain loudly because they have been critical of Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Indeed, that was the dubious excuse given publicly for his ouster.
But as all three cable news channels showed live footage of Comey’s motorcade winding through Los Angeles traffic en route to the private plane that would bring him home to Washington, the West Wing shifted into damage control mode.
— Post reporter Jenna Johnson, who was at the White House last night, filed a colorful dispatch that captures the chaotic and dysfunctional rollout: “#Sean Spicer wrapped up his brief interview with Fox Business from the White House grounds late Tuesday night and then disappeared into the shadows, huddling with his staff behind a tall hedge. To get back to his office, Spicer would have to pass a swarm of reporters wanting to know why President Trump suddenly decided to fire the FBI director. For more than three hours, Spicer and his staff had been scrambling to answer that question. Spicer had wanted to drop the bombshell news in an emailed statement but it was not transmitting quickly enough, so he ended up standing in the doorway of the press office around 5:40 p.m. and shouting a statement to reporters who happened to be nearby. He then vanished, with his staff locking the door leading to his office. The press staff said that Spicer might do a briefing, then announced that he definitely wouldn’t say anything more that night. But as Democrats and Republicans began to criticize and question the firing … Spicer and two prominent spokeswomen were suddenly speed-walking up the White House drive to defend the president on CNN, Fox News and Fox Business…