PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – National Review’s Andrew McCarthy appeared on The Rich Zeoli Show on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT to assess former FBI Director James Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, concluding that Donald Trump is in no serious legal danger, but his presidency may have been damaged.
Regarding the decision to fire Comey, McCarthy said the Constitution clearly gives Trump that authority.
“The only person in the Executive Branch who has power is the President. Everybody else in the Executive Branch exercises the President’s power as a delegate of the President, which is why the President can dismiss them at will. It’s always said that people work at the pleasure of the President. The reason is that they work at the pleasure of the President is because they don’t have their own power. They exercise his power. So, when prosecutors and FBI Agents exercise prosecutorial discretion or the discretion to decide whether to open an investigation or not. They’re not exercising their own power. They’re exercising the President’s power. It would be absurd to think that a subordinate had an ability to exercise a power of the Presidency that the President doesn’t have.”
He surmised from the day’s events that no significant evidence exists linking Trump to Russian interference in the election or that he attempted to halt any investigation by removing Comey.
“My take away from watching the hearing today is that on all the legal stuff that we’ve been dealing with for the last six, seven months, however long it is, I don’t think there’s any real case of obstruction of justice. I didn’t think so in the first place, but I certainly don’t see it. There’s no collusion with Russia. All the legal issues that we’ve seen, Comey’s testimony really helped the Trump today.”
However, McCarthy did state that Comey’s testimony regarding Trump’s character and personality could have a long lasting impact on his presidency.
“The question is, does [clearing Trump of criminal activity] get outweighed by the portrait of Trump that Comey painted, which was a conniving, shrewd, dishonest, felt like I needed to make memos every time I had contact with him because I thought he would lie about it eventually, that sort of thing? Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I actually think that’s going to hurt Trump in the long run even though I think he is helped by the fact that a lot of the worst allegations about him have, to my mind at least, been set aside.”