Written by Steven Spear, Jr.
Edited by Morgan DeLisle
Few things leave me speechless. Around 6pm on May 9th, I read a notification on my phone that said, “FBI Director James Comey has been fired by President Trump”—I was speechless. I checked the notification again to make sure that I had not misread it. Once I regained my bearings, my first thought was “President Trump has just fired the man who is leading an investigation of which Trump is potentially a target.”
To understand the gravity of this situation, we need to understand three things: Comey was disliked in Washington by many Democrats and Republicans, there is an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the justification given for Comey’s firing seems to be, at best, a poor diversion.
Comey was unpopular
While Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she used an unprotected, private email server in her communications instead of a protected, government email server. When this was revealed, Republicans called for her to be arrested and imprisoned. After an FBI investigation, Comey declared in July 2016 ( four months before the election) that there was no evidence that Clinton broke the law and that the investigation had ended. Republicans were furious with Comey.
On October 28 (eleven days before the election), Comey sent a letter – one that was promptly leaked – to the Chairs and Ranking Members of certain congressional committees informing them that the FBI had reopened the Clinton investigation after finding new emails. On November 6 (two days before the election), Comey announced that the new emails did not change the FBI’s determination that Clinton should not be prosecuted. Many liberals and Clinton herself credits the doubt caused by the FBI’s reopening of the email investigation for ousting them the election. Democrats were furious with Comey.
Republicans thought that he should have charged Clinton; Democrats thought that he cost them the election. As his friends began disappearing, Comey’s time in Washington seemed to be quickly coming to an end.
The FBI is investigating the Trump campaign
Comey confirmed the existence of an FBI investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. He did not say who was being targeted in the investigation. In his testimony before Congress, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that he is not aware of evidence proving collusion, but he continued to say that if there were any evidence that he likely would not be aware. Other intelligence officials have made similar statements.
In my opinon these members of the Trump campaign are likely targets of the investigation for the following reasons:
- Roger Stone—admitted to being in contact with a Russian intelligence official who is believed by the U.S. intelligence community to be responsible for hacks in the U.S.
- Carter Page—met with a Russian spy; was monitored by the FBI because there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia
- Michael Flynn—lied to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations with the Russian Ambassador; was paid to appear on Russian state television and given other luxuries by Vladmir Putin
Coincidentally, the New York Times reported that a few days before his dismissal, Comey requested more resources because the investigation had “accelerated.” Firing the man that is potentially investigating you can easily be seen as Trump attemptting to slow down or stop said investigation.
There is no conclusive evidence that President Trump purposefully removed Comey to hinder the investigation. However, it is an important question to consider: Is President Trump trying to stop or hinder the FBI’s Russia investigation? If so, that is obstruction of justice—one of the charges that led to Richard Nixon’s impeachment.
Trump’s justification for firing Comey is hard to believe
In reference to the reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, Trump said, “I really disagreed with [Comey]. I was not his fan. What he did—he brought back his reputation. He has to hang tough because there are a lot of people who want him to do the wrong thing. What he did was the right thing.” This is one of many times that Trump has agreed with and praised Comey for his decision.
Despite this praise, Trump claimed that Comey was fired because of his mishandling of the Clinton email investigation. That does not add up, because it would mean he continually praised Comey for having the courage to reopen the investigation and then fired him for the same thing. This reason is strangely weak and unconvincing, and there must be another reason for Comey’s dismissal.
It is important to note that in January 2017, the Justice Department announced that its Inspector General was conducting a review of Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation. It would make much more sense to wait for the Inspector General’s office to finish their review before making the abrupt decision to remove him. The rushed nature of the decision places even more suspicion on Trump’s justification for firing Comey.
According to a report from the Director of National Intelligence, “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” This is a dangerous game, and an investigation into potential American collusion with the Russian government is completely worth all of the time and resources it consumes. If the integrity of our election systems has been compromised with collusion, the American people have been deceived by a world leader with nothing but the worst intentions for the United States.
Based on previous behavior, we know that Trump likes to surround himself with people who supported him throughout the campaign. In a May 8th tweet, we found out that he believes the investigation is a waste of time:
“The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” —Donald Trump
Can we expect Trump’s nominee for FBI Director to believe the investigation to be a “taxpayer funded charade”? If Trump’s new FBI Director does end the Russia investigation, it will only fuel rumors that Trump is trying to cover up his campaign’s collusion with Vladmir Putin and Russia.
What do you think? Did the President make the right decision in firing James Comey?
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