What About the Tarmac Interlude?

Alex Brandon/AP

The Times is reporting that Robert Mueller is requesting documents relating to President Trump’s firing of Mike Flynn, firing of James Comey and that bizarre meeting with the Russian Ambassador and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which Trump told Lavrov that firing Comey had taken the “pressure” off him.┬áSince it’s been widely understood that Mueller is probing whether Trump obstructed justice in firing Comey, this isn’t altogether surprising. But it certainly seems to confirm this assumption since these are key events you’d want to know more about to make that case.

With this new information, I must again raise that hour long interlude on Air Force One two days prior to Comey’s dismissal. Giving the timeline we’ve discussed earlier, there’s very good reason to believe that Comey’s imminent firing was what Trump and his aides were discussing.

Remember, Trump spent the weekend at Bedminster fuming about Comey and returned to Washington with his decision made. But the key in my mind has always been who was with him on Air Force that evening. Trump has two broad classes of advisors. The toady enablers and the semi-grown-ups. You may not like White House Counsel Don McGahn. But he’s actually tried to stop Trump from doing a lot of stupid things. Even Steve Bannon – Steve Bannon!! – tried to convince Trump not to fire Comey. But there’s that other class: the 7th tier toadies and lickspittles and enablers who cheer on Trump’s worst tendencies. That weekend and on that plane ride home, he had the all star class of Trump toadies: Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, KT McFarland, Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino. The worst and the stupidest.

Remember, too: Kushner encouraged Trump to fire Comey. Stephen Miller and Trump co-wrote the screed version of the Comey firing letter that McGahn was able to dramatically edit down. Though I don’t want to criticize these people, it is fair to say these are five of the least experienced, stupidest and most aggressive members of the Trump entourage. It was on a weekend stewing with them that Trump made his decision that Comey had to go – one his DC staffers were unable to warn him off of. Those conversation that weekend and the particularly the one that kept the six on the tarmac for an hour that Sunday evening must be where the most unvarnished and inane conversations about the need to fire Comey took place. Mueller must want to know more about what they discussed.

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