What Americans Are Saying About Donald Trump Firing FBI Director James Comey
Several times over the last year, Republican FBI Director James Comey has proved himself to be an unscrupulous political partisan. Over and over again in 2016, he earned the distrust of the American people by ignoring basic ethical standards in order to benefit the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Trump used the chaos created by Comey to his advantage, and when he became President of the United States, he enthusiastically pledged to keep Comey as Director of the FBI. So, it’s extremely strange that Donald Trump should choose this particular moment to abruptly fire Comey.
The Trump Administration indicates that the firing of James Comey came at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That’s alarming, because Sessions had been forced to recuse himself from any involvement in the FBI’s investigation into collusion between the Trump for President campaign and Russian spies who attacked the United States in 2016 in order to help Trump get elected. Sessions himself, it was revealed, lied to Congress about two meetings he had last year with a representative of Vladimir Putin’s government – one of the Russians that Trump campaign officials had also repeatedly met with. Urging Trump to fire the person leading the FBI investigation into Trump’s involvement in the Russian attacks surely violates the pledge Sessions made that he would have no involvement in the investigation – an investigation that includes Sessions himself as a suspect.
No one should shed tears at the departure of Comey. However, the pattern of behavior by Trump and Sessions is leading Americans to reasonable, practically unescapable, suspicions that Comey’s firing is part of a coverup.
This firing has provoked a crisis in the rule of law in America. It now appears that the powers of the Department of Justice are being used to protect Donald Trump from the law, rather than to enforce the laws that Trump is alleged to have broken. Trust in democracy itself is at stake, and with Donald Trump’s habit of outrageous, blatant lies, it is difficult to see how that trust can be restored as long as Trump remains in the Oval Office.
Don’t just take our word for it. Listen to what historians and legal experts are saying about Donald Trump’s firing of Comey:
“This has every appearance of a brazen cover-up, a possible act of obstruction of justice, just as much as Richard Nixon firing the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in October 1973. That’s the only comparable historical precedent.” – President of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University law school
“Nixon fired independent prosecutor Archibald Cox for his aggressive inquiry into Watergate. It turns out that was nothing, compared with the firing of Comey in the middle of this inquiry. It is a stunning blow to any attempt to obtain legitimate, non-partisan information about what went wrong in the campaign and why. The justification provided in the administration’s memorandum on the firing – that it came in response to Comey’s mishandling of the Clinton investigation – doesn’t pass the laugh test.” – Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University
“If the president continues to act in this way, we shall rapidly descend into a terrifying state of social dissolution. The rule of law will disintegrate. That will endanger everyone who cares about this country. If ever there was a time for politicians to put the interests of the nation above those of partisan self-interest, it is now.” – Robert Post, professor of law at Yale University
” I don’t see how you can’t conclude that a coverup is likely to be in the works. I don’t suppose how anyone could come to any other conclusion.” – David Greenberg, professor of history at Rutgers University
“Anytime a sitting president fires the person responsible for investigating his campaigns potential criminal activities, it is a matter of grave public concern. When that criminal investigation involves collaboration with Russia to undermine the U.S. democratic process, it’s a constitutional crisis.” – David Cole, professor at the Georgetown University Law Center
“This has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. This has everything to do with the connections between the Trump administration and Russia.” – Jeremi Suri, professor of public policy at the University of Texas
“The bottom line is, you cannot have a president who is firing the man who is investigating him. And you cannot have an attorney general who is supposed to recuse himself firing the FBI director who is conducting the Russia investigation.” – Richard Painter, professor of law at the University of Minnesota