Quick! Somebody pass the smelling salts to CNN's Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley.
He went full blown hysterical on CNN's Tonight on Friday over the news about the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. He tossed out words like "Friday night slaughter" and "paranoid" to describe President Donald Trump and he was only getting warmed up. He acted as if the firing was strictly political and unjustified. However, as we shall later hear from reknowned legal scholar Jonathan Turley, the firing was not only justified but probably mandatory.
DON LEMON: Breaking news on a Friday night. Jeff Sessions fires Andrew McCabe. The former FBI Deputy Director, just two days away from retiring. Here to discuss is Chris Whipple, he is the author of, The Gate Keepers - How the White House Chief of Staff define every presidency. And CNN's presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley. Good evening gentlemen.
So, Doug, former FBI Director -- Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, fired after more than 20 years of service by the way. Is there any comparison to Nixon's Saturday night massacre?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes, I mean, this will be known as the Friday night slaughter, you know, this was -- the very idea that Jeff Sessions hasn't released something to inform the public what this is, it's done in a -- in a kind of cloak of secrecy late at night in a bizarre fashion, the fact that he was about to have his pension and they couldn't let it go. It's something very cruel and sad that's occurred tonight.
And I think our country now hopefully is going to wake up -- I mean Donald Trump is struggling for his life. He is paranoid. He felt that McCabe is -- was too close to Comey and he decided to get rid of anybody and anything that is standing in his way, kind of survival mode right now, but I think we can say tonight that the Trump White House is at war with our FBI.
WHEW! And after a brief pause, Brinkley worked up a second wind chock full of yet more unhinged hysteria:
LEMON: Congressman Swalwell, Douglas, was on just before you. He said if you look at all of this and considering what McCabe statement was just then, the fix is in and it sounds like that's what McCabe is saying as well, the fix is in.
BRINKLEY: That's right. You know, McCabe now has to become a real courage spokesperson about what's going on in America. I mean, it's absolutely unacceptable the way this has gone down this week, the way Donald Trump is taunting people, the way that he is humiliating ourselves internationally. We have the Stormy Daniels situation brewing.
He is a president that's coming unglued. He is not right in personality or in thought or in action. And we did see that with Nixon when the pressure of Watergate came on, when Nixon would bark all sorts of odd orders to people and people didn't follow them. This time around people followed them. And the person that let us down is Jeff Sessions.
The attorney general either needed to recuse himself, Don, or not played in to this political hit job that Donald Trump just done on McCabe. And in FBI history to have this happen, you know to a man of that distinguished caliber and to be treated in this shabby way, and the way Rex Tillerson was treated this week, it's something diabolical about it. And I hope more people are waking up to Donald Trump's total fear of the Mueller investigation.
On Saturday morning Jonathan Turley put things in proper perspective on Smerconish which served to make Brinkley look less like a presidential historian and more like a presidential partisan:
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Was it justified, this firing?
JONATHAN TURLEY: Well, it was justified in the sense that these were career officials at the Office of Professional Responsibility that made this recommendation which is exceedingly rare. In fact it's unprecedented for someone in this position. These are not political appointees. The OPR quite frankly is not viewed as a particularly aggressive office so all of that makes this a relatively rare sanction coming from career officers. They clearly concluded that McCabe misled them and he misled them on a core issue they were investigating, not a collateral issue.
Somehow I don't think the procedural and legal issues as pointed out by Turley will have any effect on tamping down Brinkley's hyper-partisan hysteria. Look for it to become worse. Much, much worse.