FBI Director Comey was Fired – What Really Happened?
On Tuesday, President Trump followed the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to dismiss FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein had just been confirmed by the Senate at the end of April and was reviewing Director Comey’s performance. He wrote a detailed letter to the Attorney General who agreed with the recommendation in a separate letter to the president. Both letters indicated that Comey be dismissed as Director of the FBI.
Was Comey Fit to Lead the FBI given his Record?
According to the Department of Justice, FBI Director Comey had made serious errors as Director confirmed by other people knowledgeable in FBI matters. In addition, Comey did not recognize that his actions were wrong. This meant that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein did not feel confident that similar mistakes would not continue to be made.
Some examples that cost Comey confidence and trust included his July 5th announcement related to presidential candidate Clinton and her handling of confidential emails. After citing a long list of careless behavior on her part that appeared to be potentially reasons for indicting Clinton, he went on to say that no prosecutor would indict her. So, why did he make the highly publicized announcement?
Importantly, Comey also crossed a big line in the sand with his announcement. The purpose of an FBI investigation is simply to investigate, to find facts, to collect data, etc. It’s not to make prosecution decisions. That’s the role of actual prosecutors.
Another problem was the unnecessary disclosure of Anthony Weiner’s collection of 600,000 Clinton’s emails a few weeks before the election. There was no need to disclose that fact. It was just part of an investigation. It was another apparent mistake on Comey’s part.
Comey’s tenure was known for other potential scandals as well, including:
- Before the Boston Marathon bombing, the FBI talked with the bomber, but let him go. They also ignored a later Russian warning about the bomber and failed to investigate further.
- Before 31 Americans were killed at Fort Hood, the FBI had emails from Nidal Hasan saying he wanted to kill fellow soldiers. Why wasn’t action taken to prevent the tragedy?
- During the Clinton email scandals, why did the FBI allow Clinton aides to destroy their laptops and also why were they given immunity?
- After the San Bernardino killings, the FBI demanded Apple create a backdoor to unlock several suspects’ phones. Ultimately, the decision was criticized and not even needed.
How Will Democrats React?
As with everything else, the Democrats refuse to accept the results of the presidential election. They are likely to call for an independent prosecutor to investigate any possible Trump campaign and Russian election collusion, despite the facts that there is no evidence of such collusion. They will attempt to say Trump fired Comey because he was investigating that collusion.
Somewhat ironic note – if Clinton had won the election, she probably would have fired Comey as well.
What Will be the Likely Impact of this Firing on Trump’s Legacy?
Very little. It will probably be just a footnote in the history books of 21st century American politics.
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