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The Trump administration is receiving intense blowback for its decision to fire FBI director James Comey. While Trump pointed to the unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton by Comey, no one in Washington believes that is the reason for Comey’s ouster.
Instead, it is widely believed that Trump’s actions were made to befuddle the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections, and Trump’s connection to Russia.With Comey out of the picture, Trump will now be able to install whomever he wishes into the head spot at the FBI and that person will dictate how that investigation moves forward.
Trump told Coley in a very blunt letter on Tuesday, “You are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.” Comey was not in Washington when fired, instead, he was speaking to a group of FBI employees when news of his firing was broadcast on the TVs in the room. It was reported that Comey thought it was a prank pulled by the employees in attendance.
Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters on Tuesday, “Earlier this afternoon, President Trump called me and informed me he was firing Director Comey. I told the president: ‘Mr. President, with all due respect, you are making a big mistake.’ … Given the way the president has fired Director Comey, any person who he appoints to lead the Russia investigation will be concerned that he or she will meet the same fate as Director Comey if they run afoul of the administration.”
Tennessee’s Republican Senator Bob Corker released a statement, saying, “It is essential that ongoing investigations are fulsome and free of political interference until their completion, and it is imperative that President Trump nominate a well-respected and qualified individual to lead the bureau at this critical time.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal (Dem-Ct) weighed in on the firing, saying in a release, “The need for a special prosecutor is now crystal clear. President Trump has catastrophically compromised the FBI’s ongoing investigation of his own White House’s ties to Russia. Not since Watergate have our legal systems been so threatened.”
Others in Washington made similar connections to Trump’s firing of Comey and Nixon’s firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973 as Nixon attempted to make the Watergate incident disappear.
Even Nixon’s former White House Counsel, John Dean, called Comey’s firing “a very Nixonian move” and added, “This could have been a quiet resignation, but instead it was an angry dismissal.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), said in a statement, “No one should accept President Trump’s absurd justification that he is now concerned that FBI Director Comey treated Secretary Clinton unfairly. … This is nothing less than Nixonian.”
“This is Nixonian. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special counsel to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.” said Senator Bob Casey, (D-Penn), in a statement.
Alaska’s Senior Senator Lisa Murkowski voiced her concern over the firing, saying, “Whether or not you are a supporter of Mr. James Comey’s actions as FBI Director, the timing of his firing – in the middle of an investigation into Russia’s interference in our election – is serious cause for concern. The President cited that one of his reasons for firing Comey as FBI Director was that he had lost the public’s trust and was unable to carry out the duties needed for the job. It is now our job to restore that trust.”
Deputy White House Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders may have revealed to motive for the firing in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, responding to Carlson’s query how Comey’s firing would impact the Russian investigation. She replied, “I think the bigger point on that is, ‘My gosh, Tucker, when are they gonna let that go?’ It’s been going on for nearly a year. Frankly, it’s kinda getting absurd. There’s nothing there.It’s time to move on, Frankly, it’s time to focus on the things the American people care about.”
While the Trump administration hopes that the Russian issue would just go away, quite the opposite is occurring, Federal prosecutors have now began issuing grand jury subpoenas to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s associates.
Also on Tuesday, Senate investigators have asked the Treasury Department for financial information concerning Trump, campaign aides and top officials.