(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

President Trump wrote a letter explaining the reason he fired James Comey, and it was the last nail in the coffin — against himself. Comey, who just happened to be in charge of the investigation into any links between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign, was a threat, and now he’s gone. Just like that.

Trump’s manifestly conflicted interference with this investigation is one reason Trump should be fired.

His stated reason was that Comey wasn’t fair to Hillary Clinton in the FBI’s investigation of her emails. There is not one person on Earth or on any recently discovered nearby Earth-like planets who believes this explanation. Not one — including Republicans who somehow manage to croak out words saying that they do. And even if Trump were, by accident or happenstance, telling the truth, there would still be no reason to believe him, as he has demonstrated abundantly and often that the truth means nothing whatsoever to him.

His thoroughgoing and pervasive undermining of his own credibility, and that of the executive office of the presidency, is another reason Trump should be fired.

But the main reason he should be fired, though related, is larger than either of these. It is that we know, yes, now we know beyond a reasonable doubt, that Trump will do whatever it is possible to do to protect himself, his power and his prerogatives at the expense of his office, America’s governing norms, the public trust or any other consideration relating to limits on him. His central trait is this: He will do whatever he can.

Put aside the particulars of this instance. Let the pundits and lawyers argue the fine points and legal nuance. The fact remains that Trump clearly wants the investigation of Russia impeded, compromised or ended. If he gets away with this, he will have looped one more chain around his grip on power. Is there anyone who doubts he would be willing to take another, more alarming step in the future? He has given us every reason to believe he would, and will.

As I have said before, every day Trump is in power, the nation’s democracy suffers. Yesterday was only the latest vivid example. And every day he stays in power, the problem will be harder to undo.