Washington: Donald Trump is back in his element. The former reality star-turned-President had been itching to utter the three magic words that he loved to shout in his previous life: "You are fired!"
He had the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama regime, terminated for refusing to defend his travel ban in the courts.
He had also dismissed Preet Bharara, the high profile desi "Sheriff of Wall Street" for declining to quit with 42 other Obama-era top prosecutors.
But the POTUS had bigger fish to fry. In a city that leaks like the sieve, he did the impossible. Trump fired FBI chief James Comey in the midst of a probe into his campaign's collusion with Putin's spooks without anyone getting wiser.
Even the nation's top cop was caught "flat footed" as he stared at the news flash on television screens in faraway Los Angeles as he stood talking with FBI agents. But it was no joke, as he first thought.
To add insult to injury, the missive that Trump's long-time personal aide hand-delivered to Comey's office in Washington "appreciated" that Comey had thrice told the POTUS that he was not under investigation.
And curiously the case for removal made by a highly respected career prosecutor rested on Comey's "serious mistakes" in probing the email saga of Trump's vanquished presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
Democrats, who till the other day were baying for Comey's blood with Clinton herself blaming him for her defeat, suddenly had their confidence shaken in the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, whom the Senate had just confirmed with a 94-6 vote.
The "fake media", as the POTUS is never tired of calling the left-leaning scribes, too would not buy the White House story that Trump, who had once praised "gutsy" Comey, would sack him for "being mean" to his opponent.
Amid a firestorm on the Capitol Hill with "concerned" Democrats and the media accusing Trump of acting in a "Nixonian" fashion and using Rosenstein as cat's paw, the POTUS again changed the narrative.
He had decided to fire a "Showboat" and "grandstander" Comey regardless of Rosenstein's recommendation to give the "crown jewel" of law enforcement a new beginning, he declared in a TV interview.
"In fact, when I decided to just do it" he had "you know, this Russia thing" on his mind, Trump declared doubling down on his earlier assertion that "the Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax".
Calling it "an excuse" by "phony hypocrites" Democrats "for having lost an election", Trump promised not to interfere with the FBI probe of Russian meddling in the presidential poll even as he wondered "when will this taxpayer funded charade end?"
And totally unmindful of the "bad optics", he received visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his Oval office after conferring with Nixon's iconic Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Trump also acknowledged that he had asked Comey about the Russian probe at a private dinner a week after his inauguration.
"He wanted to stay at the FBI, and I said I'll, you know, consider and see what happens," Trump claimed. "But we had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me, 'You are not under investigation.'"
The "failing New York Times" had a different take on the dinner. Citing sources close to Comey, it claimed that POTUS had asked the FBI chief to "pledge his loyalty" but he was only willing to give him "honesty".
"The Fake Media is working overtime today!" Trump hit back with a swift tweet as he sounded a warning with another. "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
As the media -- the fake one -- went to town about Trump's "threat" to the fired FBI chief and the "inappropriateness" of his demand for loyalty, he told his current favourite conservative Fox News that he never popped such a question.
But it wouldn't be inappropriate if he did demand loyalty -- to the nation and its people!
And as the pundits worked themselves into a tizzy, the slippery Donald teased them with another home truth: "Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the US tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election."
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)