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Comey falls victim to Trump’s Tuesday night massacre

来源:FT中文网    2017-05-12 05:31

        It took Richard Nixon five months to fire the man investigating him. It took Donald Trump less than four. The difference is that Nixon did little to conceal his motive — to save his presidency. Mr Trump, on the other hand, says he fired James Comey for having mishandled last year’s email investigation into Hillary Clinton. Even by Mr Trump’s standards, this stretches credulity. Mr Trump is asking the US public to believe he “terminated and removed” the FBI director for having treated Mrs Clinton unfairly. This was the same opponent whom Mr Trump said should be locked up for mishandling her emails. Now, apparently, Mrs Clinton was the victim of an unprofessional probe and Mr Trump is setting things straight.        理查德•尼克松(Richard Nixon)花了5个月的时间炒掉了调查他的人。唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)花了不到4个月。两者之间的区别是,尼克松没怎么隐瞒自己的动机:保住他的总统宝座,而特朗普则称,他炒掉詹姆斯•科米(James Comey)是因为后者对去年希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)“邮件门”的调查处理不当。即使以特朗普的标准,这也太把别人当傻子了。特朗普让美国公众相信,他“终止和免去(这位联邦调查局(FBI)局长)的职务”是因为后者曾不公平地对待了希拉里。希拉里正是特朗普口中那个应为不当处置自己邮件被关进监狱的对手。如今看起来,希拉里曾是一项不专业调查的受害者,而特朗普正在伸张正义。
        Mr Comey’s firing was ostensibly prompted by the revelation that he had misdescribed his decision last October to reopen the Clinton email investigation — a move that many believe tipped the election in Mr Trump’s favour. Yet Mr Comey, who until Tuesday night was overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia to influence last year’s election, only disclosed his misstatement this week. Mr Trump, on the other hand, was cavilling at the FBI director long before Mr Comey’s disclosure. Last week Mr Trump tweeted: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!” Mr Comey, in other words, was already in Mr Trump’s sights.        表面上,科米被开除的导火索,是他对去年10月重启希拉里“邮件门”调查的决定存在错误表述——很多人认为该决定使得选情偏向有利于特朗普的方向。不过直到周二晚上还在主持特朗普竞选团队“通俄门”(涉嫌勾结俄罗斯以影响去年大选)调查的科米,本周才刚刚披露了他的错误表述。而另一方面,特朗普在科米披露此事前很久就开始对这位FBI局长挑刺。上周特朗普在Twitter上发文称:“遇上FBI局长科米是希拉里•克林顿最大的幸运,因为他给了她一张免罪状,勾销了她做的很多坏事!”换句话说,科米早就被特朗普盯上了。
        The implications are dramatic. Like any US federal scandal, the details mount but the basics remain simple. Having fired the head of the only Russia investigation taking place within the executive branch, Mr Trump will now conduct a search for Mr Comey’s replacement. What are the chances he selects an independent figure who will pick up the Russia investigation where Mr Comey left off? What are the odds Mr Trump’s FBI nominee gets the necessary 50 votes for Senate confirmation?        这将引发戏剧性的影响。正如任何一件美国政府丑闻一样,细节很多,但基本事实很简单。既然炒掉了行政分支内唯一正在进行的“通俄门”调查的负责人,那么特朗普现在将开始寻找科米的接替者。他有多大可能性选出一个继续完成科米未竞的“通俄门”调查的独立人物?特朗普提名的FBI局长人选在参议院得到必须的50票赞成的可能性有多大?
        Mr Trump will be aided in his search by Jeff Sessions, the attorney-general, who was forced to recuse himself from overseeing Mr Comey’s investigation because of his undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador. This was the same ambassador with whom Michael Flynn, Mr Trump’s first national security adviser, held conversations secretly recorded by the FBI. The leaked contents of those, in turn, led to Mr Flynn’s firing.        特朗普在搜寻人选时会得到司法部长杰夫•塞申斯(Jeff Sessions)的帮助。塞申斯曾被迫回避监督科米的调查,因为他曾与俄罗斯大使秘密接触。特朗普的第一任国家安全顾问迈克尔•弗林(Michael Flynn)正是与这位大使举行会谈,被FBI秘密录了下来。泄露出来的FBI录音内容后来导致弗林被解职。
        These are just the outlines. The key point is that Mr Trump has fired the man investigating him. Nixon’s “Saturday night massacre” in which he fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor, is the only precedent.        以上这些只是事件的大概情况。关键点是特朗普炒掉了调查他的人。尼克松的“周六夜大屠杀”(Saturday night massacre)——炒掉了特别检察官阿奇博尔德•考克斯(Archibald Cox)——是唯一的先例。
        There are three consequences. The first is that calls will mount to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation. Nixon was compelled to do so — as was Bill Clinton. Mr Trump will resist any such move. Only his fellow Republicans can force him to take that step. The pressure on Republicans to uphold the integrity of the US judicial system will sharply intensify. If one Republican senator, such as John McCain, breaks ranks, others would follow. So far the partisan line is just about holding. But cracks are starting to show.        此举将带来三大后果。首先,要求任命一名特别检察官接管“通俄门”调查的呼声将越来越高。尼克松当年就被迫这样做——比尔•克林顿(Bill Clinton)也是如此。特朗普将抵制任何此类举动。只有他的共和党同僚能迫使他迈出这一步。共和党人将承受急剧加大的压力,要求他们维护美国司法制度的健全。如果有一名共和党参议员——如约翰•麦凯恩(John McCain)——带头破坏队形的话,其他人就会效仿。到目前为止,党内还保持着统一的队形。但裂隙已开始显现。
        The second consequence is that Mr Trump will now find it impossible to banish the Russia narrative. In politics, bandwidth is power. It will be hard for Mr Trump to achieve much else while the Russia shadow hangs over him. It is difficult to believe he would have taken such a step had he believed leaving Mr Comey in place would pose a lesser risk. Having been blamed widely for tipping the election to Mr Trump, Mr Comey was on a quest to salvage his reputation. Now that he is gone, others in the FBI may take the initiative. It is worth remembering that Nixon was undone by a disgruntled FBI official, Mark Felt, who leaked details about his Watergate cover-up to the Washington Post. Either way, talk of the Trump administration’s “normalisation” looks premature. We are entering Nixonian territory.        第二个后果是,特朗普将发现,完全消除“通俄”说的影响是不可能的。在政治领域,“带宽”就是力量。笼罩在俄罗斯阴影下无暇分身的特朗普,将很难在其他领域取得多少成就。要是特朗普相信留下科米风险更小的话,相信他也就不会炒掉科米了。由于被广泛指责帮助让选情偏向有利于特朗普的方向,科米一直在寻求挽回自己的声誉。如今,科米被解职了,FBI的其他同僚可能会自发地挺身而出。值得记住的是,尼克松就是被愤愤不平的FBI官员马克•费尔特(Mark Felt)搞下台的,后者向华盛顿邮报(Washington Post)爆料了尼克松掩盖“水门事件”(Watergate)的细节。总之,现在谈论特朗普政府“正常化”看起来为时过早。我们正在进入“尼克松场景”。
        The third consequence is how this will go down in Moscow. The Russian government has made little secret of its desire to contaminate US democracy. On Tuesday Vladimir Putin chalked up another victory. The US president did something typically associated with a non-democracy. He interfered with the course of justice. Not even Nixon fired the head of the FBI.        第三个后果是,莫斯科方面将如何看待此事。俄罗斯政府几乎毫不掩饰对于污染美国民主的渴望。周二,弗拉基米尔•普京(Vladimir Putin)又取得了一场胜利。美国总统做了一件通常只在非民主国家出现的事。他干扰了司法公正。连尼克松也没有解除FBI局长的职务。
        Russia may not achieve a grand bargain with the US to create its own sphere of influence. Mr Trump would find it hard to make any kind of geopolitical concession without provoking Republican hawks, such as Mr McCain. But Russia has already won the prize it sought. American democracy is in a deepening crisis. When and where it will end is anybody’s guess.        俄罗斯未必能与美国达成大妥协,以建立自己的势力范围。特朗普会发现,在不激怒共和党鹰派人士(比如麦凯恩)的情况下,很难做出任何地缘政治让步。但俄罗斯已获得了自己想要的奖赏。美国的民主正处于一场不断深化的危机之中。这场危机何时结束、将发展到何种地步,所有人都不得而知。

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