Democrats, in contrast, are united in condemning the move, asserting it was done in an attempt to derail the criminal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence operatives. The Clinton email "explanation," they assert unanimously, is a clumsy ruse.
With the exception of a few far-right pro-Trump outlets, the media has been widely skeptical and outright antagonistic about the action. Op-ed columns have near uniformly criticized Trump's action as a blatant attempt to obstruct justice and stop any investigation into potentially criminal activity on either his or close associates' part.
News broke yesterday that the fired FBI director had asked for increased resources and more personnel for the Trump/Russia investigation, which strongly suggests he was finding more and more evidence of collusion (details here). The fact that Trump fired the director after this request is all the more troubling, particularly considering he has fired three different people now who were investigating him, two of whom he both praised and promised to keep on in his administration (details here).
John Cassidy at The New Yorker wrote a particularly withering piece yesterday (link here) with the title "Donald Trump’s Firing of James Comey Is an Attack on American Democracy."
The writer is blunt: "On Tuesday evening, Donald Trump acted like a despot.... With Comey out of the way, Trump can now pick his own man (or woman) to run the Bureau, and this person will have the authority to close down that investigation."
Cassidy then lays out how Trump's supposed rationale for firing the FBI director -- because of his handling into Hillary Clinton's email practices -- is as absurd as it is unconvincing.
"Until the White House comes up with a less ludicrous rationalization for its actions, we can only assume that Trump fired Comey because the Russia investigation is closing in on him and his associates, and he knew that he didn’t have much sway over the F.B.I. director," he writes. "That is the simplest theory that fits the facts. And it is a cause for great alarm."
Cassidy then concludes: "Congress must restrain him and reassert the principles of American democracy by appointing an independent special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation. If the legislature won’t act unprompted -- and the initial signs are that most of the G.O.P. intends to yield to the President’s abuse of his power—it will be incumbent on the American people to register their protests forcefully, and to put pressure on their elected officials. Trump is a menace. He must be stopped."
He could not be more correct.