On May 9, 2017, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, suddenly terminating the top official leading the investigation into Trumps ties with Russia. The development came as a surprise to Democrats and Republicans, reigniting calls for a special prosecutor and non-partisan group to adequately continue the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump described his reasoning for the firing in his letter to Mr. Comey attributing it to the handling of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. In the letter that was released to reporters by the White House, the president stated,
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,”
Top officials said that the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein, pushed for the FBI directors’ removal. However, as reported by the New York Times, Washington Officials saw a thoroughly well thought out effort by the president to remove Comey. Mr. Rosenstien stated in a separate letter
“I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.”
Shortly after the White House gave out their official responses to the reasoning behind the decision, new reports highlighted the growing tension between the president and FBI director.
President Trump had grown bitter about the Russia investigation due to the fact he had no control over the narrative of the inquiry. It was because of this frustration that Trump fired Comey and sent two of his private security guards to give him the termination letter. This type of behavior isn’t unique to the president who has fired its acting attorney general and national security adviser. The news came as a surprise to Comey himself as he was giving a speech, and noticed the news on TV, but wrote it off as an elaborate prank. Many top officials in the agency learned of the decision just before it happened with Senior White House officials stating “Nobody really knew.”
The Presidents decision drew fierce criticism from both Democrats and Republicans with Sen. Ben Sasse saying “The timing of this firing was very troubling.” The North Carolina chair for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the Trump-Russia ties shared the same sentiment
“The timing of this, and the reasoning of this doesn’t make sense to me,”
Joining him were Republicans Marco Rubio, John McCain, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Mark Sanford, and a bevy of other representatives wary of the presidents’ actions. However, Mitch McConnell defended the decision using Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein rationale that it was due to the misconduct of Clinton’s emails.
During this time Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was making his statement denouncing the decision. Including dismissing McConnell, and the White House’s rationale that directors firing was due to the mishandling of emails. Schumer simply asserting that if that were the case, then Trump would’ve fired Comey when he took office. Afterward, Chuck Schumer passionately declared
“The American people need to have faith that an investigation as serious as this one is being conducted impartially, without a shred of bias.”
With all of this in mind, this is a rare opportunity for the American people to come together, and demand a proper investigation be carried out. The firing came after James Comey asked for more funding to investigate the ties between Russia and Trump, making the decision more suspicious. Under these circumstances, the President’s actions are a direct attack on the bedrock of our democracy and government. The American people have the right to know the truth if there was collusion with Trump and his associates, but this only happens if there is a bi-partisan commitment. The future of our country may be at stake, and that isn’t a partisan issue.
Rutgers Student studying Political Science & Government with a minor in Journalism who has an interest in the intersection of journalism and political movements.