The president is lying about firing a top law enforcement official, and he is almost certainly lying to protect himself and his aides from a full investigation into their own activities.

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The president of the United States is lying again.

He is lying about the reason he fired James Comey, the FBI director. Trump claimed that he was doing so because Comey bungled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email, which meant that Comey was “not able to effectively lead the bureau.”

There is no reason to believe Trump’s version of the facts and many reasons to believe he is lying. How can I be so confident?

First, it’s important to remember just how often Trump lies. Virtually whenever he finds it more convenient to tell a falsehood than to tell a truth, he chooses the falsehood.

An incomplete list of the things he has lied about include: Barack Obama’s birthplace, Obama’s phone “tapp,” John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq war, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud, the size of his inaugural crowd, his health care bill and his own groping of women.

Second, Trump previously praised Comey for reopening the Clinton email investigation, which was the core of Trump’s rationale for the firing, as Igor Volsky of CAP Action noted.

Third, Trump claimed that he was merely following up on a Justice Department recommendation and released a letter from the department to bolster his case. Yet the timing doesn’t make sense — and Trump aides have already undercut their boss, by acknowledging that he wanted to fire Comey.

As Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard pointed out, the Justice Department letter was dated the same day as the firing, and the official who wrote it has been on the job for just two weeks — not enough time for a serious review that could have reversed Trump’s previous position.

“So there was no real recommendation from DOJ,” Kristol wrote. “Trump wanted to do it, and they created a paper trail.” Kristol, a conservative, added, “One can be at once a critic of Comey and alarmed by what Trump has done and how he has done it.”

Even more damning, White House sources also admitted on Tuesday night that Trump himself initiated the firing. The White House charged Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, with coming up with a reason to fire Comey, as The Times and others have reported.

Finally, and most obviously, Trump had a very big motive to fire Comey and install a loyalist. Comey was overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign’s numerous strange ties with the Russian government.

“The firing of James Comey as FBI director is a stunning event,” Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey, two of the sharpest observers of the Russia case, wrote for Lawfare. “It is a profoundly dangerous thing — a move that puts the Trump-Russia investigation in immediate jeopardy and removes from the investigative hierarchy the one senior official whom President Trump did not appoint and one who is known to stand up to power.”

The president is lying about firing a top law enforcement official, and he is almost certainly lying to protect himself and his aides from a full investigation into their own activities.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, wrote on Tuesday night, “We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.”

It’s now clear that Trump’s Justice Department has no independence. Both Sessions, and Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, are acting like Trump enforcers. And now the FBI is compromised as well.

The only way to unwind the constitutional crisis is an independent inquiry, completely free of Trump’s oversight. Several Republican members of Congress expressed concern about Comey’s firing, but words aren’t enough.

Members of Congress need to give Americans reason to believe the Russia investigation isn’t a charade with a predetermined outcome. They need to make clear that while the president may think he is above the truth, he is not above the law.