by Dani Graham
In an act that shocked the Nation, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey as he was actively investigating members of Trump’s campaign and their possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 Presidential election.
The timing has raised more than just a few eyebrows. It’s raised concerns from both Democrats and Republicans alike. The backlash that followed the announcement was swift and harsh. Members of Congress quickly released statements through the press or social media to express their consternation over the timing of the dismissal.
Choosing to let Comey go now, solidified suspicions for many while heightening suspicions for others who hadn’t had any previously.
The White House finds itself scrambling from the media frenzy this caused. Even WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer suddenly became camera shy. The reason given for Comey’s poorly timed termination was that President Trump acted on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had only been confirmed 2 weeks earlier.
It’s worth noting that Jeff Sessions recused himself from having any involvement into the Russian probe after failing to disclose two meetings he had with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign. Sessions’ recusal should have prevented him from making any recommendations whatsoever about the man who was heading that investigation.
Conflicting Stories …
The initial claim for Comey’s firing was met with harsh criticism due to its lack of factual plausibility which has since caused the White House to changed their story numerous times. The most recent coming directly from the President himself. In an interview, Thursday with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump said he had planned on firing Comey all along and that “Regardless of the recommendation I was going to fire Comey.”
This latest excuse by Trump is particularly hard to swallow knowing he consistently praised Comey before his election and he has done nothing but express his confidence in the now former director of the FBI. Just last month when Maria Bartiromo of Fox News asked Trump in an interview if it was too late to let Comey go, he replied: “It’s not too late [to ask Comey to step down], but, you know, I have confidence in him”.
In an effort to deflect attention away from the ever-changing excuses to justify canning Comey, Trump has returned to his modus operandi of personal insults and wild accusations. “He’s a showboat, he’s grand-stander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” is the tune Trump is singing now while many FBI officials have come out in support of Comey.
Acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe said of the man whose agency he is now the caretaker of, “The majority, the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey.”
Director Comey’s firing will not solve Donald Trump’s problems.
The reason the timing is causing such a stir is not just due to the fact that Comey was in the middle of the investigation into Russian collusion, but that it came during a time when the investigation was expanding. Just hours before he was fired there were subpoenas issued by a grand jury to known associates of General Flynn while another one for Flynn came shortly after. It is also being reported that Comey asked Rosenstein for additional resources and money as the investigation was intensifying.
If the objective of getting rid of Comey was to tamp things down on the Russian investigation – it failed. From the moment it was reported, major substantive movement to increase the scope of the investigation had begun.
Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) who are heading the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia have asked the Treasury Department for financial information on Trump and his team.
“We’ve made a request, to FinCEN in the Treasury Department, to make sure, not just for example vis-a-vis the president, but just overall our effort to try to follow the intel no matter where it leads,” said Senator Warner.
Many Congressman, including a number of GOP members, have increased pressure for a special prosecutor or the creation of an independent committee to begin their own investigation. Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) took to twitter to announce his support of an independent commission.
My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre. https://t.co/wXeDtVIQiP
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 9, 2017
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) went as far as to send a letter to Inspector General Horowitz asking him to look into the decision to fire Comey.
In a statement made in an interview Thursday, President Trump said “And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russian thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” which seems to suggest the Russian investigation was part of the reason he decided to fire him.
If it turns out that the motive to fire Director Comey was to subvert the investigation than we are looking a constitutional crisis, a new iteration of Watergate.