When Archibald Cox, the U.S. Solicitor General appointed Special Persecutor, subpoenaed President Nixon for his secret tapes of Oval Office conversations and a compromise on the issue failed, Nixon ordered the Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, to fire him. He refused and resigned. Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus was then asked. He also refused and resigned. These were principled men, not easily cowed by the fear of losing their prestigious positions.
In the end, it was Solicitor General Robert Bork sworn in as acting Attorney General, who wrote the letter firing Cox. It cost him in the end. When Ronald Reagan nominated him for the Supreme Court, the Senate rejected him.
The last and only other FBI Director to be fired was William Sessions by President Bill Clinton. Needless to say, both Clinton and Nixon were in legal trouble, and almost no one believes the Trump administration's straight-faced explanation that Comey botched the Hillary Clinton investigation. In that case, why did Trump not do the firing when he took office on January 20th is the obvious first question.
There is additional news pointing to a more rational reason. Mr. Comey was seeking additional funds to expand the 'Russiagate' investigation. That is, the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Is Trump in trouble? Probably not as long as the Republican majority in the senate and congress holds, and as long as public voices remain muted. But these things have a tipping point which may or may not be reached. No one can tell.
The next step is a new FBI director and what he does. People sometimes forget, the FBI is a huge organization carrying out hundreds of investigations led by numerous agents. As with any large body, it can have a momentum of its own. A dissatisfied investigator feeling he is being hampered by a politically directed chief has a weapon -- the dreaded leak to the press to bring down a house of cards. If Mr. Trump has violated any laws, he is certainly not out of the woods. Like an annoying bunion on a toe that hurts with every step, the issue is likely to dog Mr. Trump's presidency for a while yet.
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama, fresh on the heels of a $400,000 speech at investment bankers, Cantor Fitzgerald, has hit the jackpot in Milan. Arriving in a convoy of 14 cars, a helicopter, and a 300-man police escort, he spoke to a sold-out audience at Seeds and Chips, a conference on the impact of technology, innovation and climate change on future food availability. His fee? $3.2 million. In this unseemly spectacle of presidents cashing in on the celebrity of public office, should the public purse not receive an equal split? Is it not after all the public's office that is being parlayed?
With Trump's money, perhaps his saving grace will be sparing us any more of this latest indignity, brought we had wrongly assumed to its zenith by the Clintons.