Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Trump Sacks Comey
President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey today in a move that some are comparing to President Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre in the Watergate investigation. That's because Comey is leading a criminal investigation into whether Trump advisors worked with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The timing of the sacking--amid the Russia investigation, and for things that happened as far back as July 2016--raises significant questions about President Trump's reasons for firing Comey. It also raises questions whether a future FBI director can aggressively pursue the Russia investigation, or any other investigation that the administration disfavors, without fear of retribution.
As a result, President Trump's move elicited a new round of calls from congressional Democrats for an independent counsel into any Russian collusion.
Here's a document that includes a statement from the White House, President Trump's letter to Comey, AG Sessions' letter to President Trump, and the DOJ legal analysis and recommendation to fire Comey.
Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who penned the DOJ memo, wrote that Comey "usurp[ed] the Attorney General's authority on July 5, 2016, and announce[d] his conclusion the [Clinton e-mail] case should be closed without prosecution," and that Comey held "press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation," Clinton, in violation of "another longstanding principle." Rosenstein wrote that his "perspective on these issues is shared by former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties."
President Trump does not have the right to fire the FBI director. The US Supreme Court ruled against Franklin Roosevelt's firing of an FTC Commissioner. Humphey's Executor v. United States, 295 U.S. 602 (1935). Director Comey, like Commissioner Humphrey, was appointed for a designated term and could only be fired for cause. The cause cited by the President is clearly subterfuge--the real reason is to stop Comey's investigation of the Trump campaign's connection with the Russians.
Posted by: Joel Joseph | May 9, 2017 10:33:41 PM