And this wholesale firing was offered up as yet another example of Trumpian imperial whim breathing its hot Big Orange authoritarian breath down upon the necks of the people.
"One would have thought they'd have handled it better," a worried
"They're off to a very slow start," said
"This is not the first time we've seen messy rollouts or messy firings in one way or another," lamented
"This is the same issue that is afflicting this administration that afflicted it during the travel ban rollout, right?" Diamond added. "This lack of coordination and perhaps a lack of respect for prior precedent and protocol and the way things were done in past administrations, where they're really throwing out the playbook and doing what they prefer to do."
Ah, savor the lines: The lack of respect for precedent! The disregard of protocol! Throwing out the playbook!
What does it mean?
It means the rule of law is subject to the whims of a despot, that's what it means.
And all that was missing was a lute, or rude harp, some medieval cone-shaped hats festooned with bells and a dark common room smelling of roast onions and ale, where minstrels would sing to us of the end of the republic.
In some other age, before common literacy and cable news, the account of Trump and the federal prosecutors would have happened this way: We'd have sat near the hearth at some rustic, smelly inn to hear how the ruthless king fired all the good sheriffs of the realm.
And Ed the Tinker's Son or Maeve the Wise or Pip the Witless would terrify the small folk with their stories of
There were many breathless accounts, the tone of which were at once alarmed and jittery. That tone, fanned by
And it all quickly became something of a media echo chamber, with much rhythmic pounding, with "lack of respect for precedent ... throwing out the playbook" and so on crashing against the national eardrums.
There's just one small problem with this epic about Trump breaking precedent to fire the feds.
It's not true.
It is not uncommon for presidents to dismiss federal prosecutors all at once. It's been going on for decades.
The post of
"Elections matter," Obama administration Attorney General
So why does the media wring its hands?
Because Trump is the president, that's why, and the media loathes him.
But he played a much different game, tweeting out that he would not resign, that the president would have to fire him, and guess what? He was fired.
Journos seized this, and worried it in their teeth, and Bharara fed it, and there is speculation his office was investigating
But if any ongoing federal investigations were to be killed for political reasons, a torrent of angry leaks would follow.
In the meantime, it might just be that Bharara wasn't a victim, but a political player feeding his ego by helping erode the rule of law. That's dangerous.
Bharara's drama ended in a staged departure with throngs of feds out on the steps of the federal building in
Bharara won't be burned. He's no heretic. He's a political cat growing his brand. He could run for governor of
And that's politics too.