Washington sometimes comes to resemble the sitting president. Like Donald Trump, the political and media establishments of the moment have come to expect—nay, demand—instant gratification. Trump’s chaotic style have produced an unintentional experiment in unprecedented White House transparency, in which a senior aide can barely sneeze without seven colleagues telling The Washington Post about it. This in turn has created the expectation that any new development will soon be explained with detailed accounts of what the major players are thinking and what their motivations are—sometimes relayed by anonymous sources, but occasionally, as with Anthony Scaramucci, delivered in shockingly vivid terms by the principals themselves.
In this strange new normal, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation seems especially odd. Such a probe—with the power to alter or even end the path of a presidency—would always be the subject of fascination, but combined with expectation of instant answers, the secretiveness of Mueller’s team has made the few crumbs which have emerged the subject of particularly fevered speculation.
Take the news, on Friday, that Mueller’s team has obtained a draft letter, written for Trump by Stephen Miller, to FBI Director James Comey, explaining why he was being dismissed. According to The New York Times, White House counsel Don McGahn successfully convinced Trump not to send the letter. The Post reports the letter focuses in particular on Comey’s refusal to say publicly that Trump was not under investigation in connection with Russian interference in the election. When Comey was fired, the White House released a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein taking issue with Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. But Trump soon indicated, in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, that he had decided to push Comey out over the Russia investigation.