The Continuing Triumph of Trump’s Razor

Last night I was reading through the TPM email box when I saw this note from TPM Reader JG. As has happened so many times over the years I thought it was a game try but it simply couldn’t be right. And yet …

Well, let’s look at the email.

I think that almost all of the coverage is overlooking the most important element of the Trump-Comey story. And you are yourself my guide here, with Trump’s Razor. Does all this have something to do with the Russia investigation? Sure. But this is REALLY about the “mildly nauseous” comment. You and I know that Comey meant that the idea that he might have influenced an election made him feel sick. Trump heard that as “you make me sick,” as a personal attack. So, fuck you, he had to go. It’s the dumbest explanation that fits all the available information. Trump can’t think strategically enough to have done this to impede the Russia investigation, or as a Candide-like execution to scare off others (I think the analogy came from Slate).

I mean, please, right? I appreciate the reference to Trump’s Razor. But this can’t have been it. JG sent in his note at 6:49 PM eastern, I think significantly in advance of any of the reporting which, mind-bogglingly, appears to confirm JG’s analysis (relying on the heuristic of Trump’s Razor, let’s be clear).

From CNN

Several people familiar with the decision say the President grew increasingly frustrated at Comey after his congressional hearing last Wednesday when he testified that he was “mildly nauseous” over the idea that he helped sway the election. Even the health care victory in the House one day later couldn’t take his mind off Comey, two people close to Trump said.

“He wouldn’t hear it (that he should be encouraged),” the friend said. “It’s Russia. Russia. Trump and Russia.” The President complained, with expletives, about Comey’s “mildly nauseous” answer and said his answer when pressed on leaks convinced the President he was far less concerned about the leaks than Trump thought he should be.

And Politico

People close to the White House say Pence knew the president was thinking about firing Comey before he met with Rosenstein on Monday. Trump, these people said, was frustrated with Comey’s testimony and the growing Russia investigation scrutiny into his campaign. He also disliked Comey’s testimony last week on Capitol Hill, particularly the FBI director’s use of the word “nauseous” to describe his reaction to the idea that he may have influenced the election.

I really have nothing to add. I wouldn’t have anticipated it. I couldn’t quite believe it when JG suggested it. And yet, Trump’s Razor is simply never wrong. So there it is.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Edblog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: