It's Political Life, Jim. but Not as We Know It; Trump Axes James Comey, the FBI Chief in Charge of Russia Probe, Sparking a Constitutional Crisis

The Journal (Newcastle, England), May 11, 2017 | Go to article overview

It's Political Life, Jim. but Not as We Know It; Trump Axes James Comey, the FBI Chief in Charge of Russia Probe, Sparking a Constitutional Crisis


Byline: STATESIDE With US Editor Christopher Bucktin

HISTORY may look back on May 9, 2017, as the day democracy was delivered a devastating blow. The firing of FBI director James Comey by Donald Trump saw the checks and balances, designed to ensure those in power are held to account, trampled over.

The US leader dispatched the highly respected former Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to craft a rationale for firing the bureau boss - the same bureau boss who had been investigating Trump's team's ties to Russia.

In a three-page letter, the best the lawman could come up with was to invoke what is now ancient political history - Comey's alleged violation of Department of Justice policies in the handling of a Hillary Clinton email probe.

There was no hint it was in anyway connected to the FBI's investigation into Trump's election campaign team's contact with the Russians.

But in sacking the man responsible for probing his own aides, Trump has trashed the fundamental principle that presidents do not operate above the law.

The terms of FBI directors were purposefully structured to span across sitting presidents ensuring the FBI's independence and protectingthe bureau from partisan politics.

President Trump's dismissal of Comey begs questions about the administration's inappropriate meddling in bureau operations - precisely at a time when the FBI appears to be investigating the President's team over potential collusion with Russian agents in the last election.

Trump had nothing but praise for Comey when, in the final days of the presidential campaign, he told Congress he was reopening the investigation into Mrs Clinton's classified emails being sent on an unsecured server.

"He brought back his reputation," he said at the time. "It took a lot of guts."

But in the midst of an ongoing investigation into his own team's contact with Russia - the country accused of meddling with the US election in favour of Trump - it appears the heat was getting too hot for the President.

Despite the excuses, the US leader obviously felt Comey, who had refused to rule out that Trump himself may one day be investigated, was leading an active investigation that could bring down a president.

Comey's sacking comes as evidence mounts against Trump's team's ties to Russia, including the actions of his disgraced former National Security advisor Michael Flynn. …

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