With a letter and announcement that seemed to catch everyone outside the administration’s inner circle off guard, President Trump fired F.B.I. Director James Comey, effective immediately. The fallout has made huge waves inside and outside the beltway as both parties react to the news and the accusations of foul play start flying.

First, the news of the firing as reported by the Associated Press:

President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, dramatically ousting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s meddling in the election that sent him to the White House.

In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in the FBI. Comey has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his public comments on an investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email practices, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the closing days of last year’s campaign.

Trump made no mention of Comey’s role in the Clinton investigation, which she has blamed in part for the election result. But in announcing the firing, the White House circulated a scathing memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizing Comey’s handling of the Clinton probe, including the director’s decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing “derogatory information” about Clinton.

Here’s a roundup of reactions from Democrats:

However, Senator Warren also couched her criticism of Trump with criticism of Comey as well:

The Associated Press also points out, in a separate story, that Democrats were livid with Comey during the 2016 campaign when he “re-opened” the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server use just weeks before Election Day:

Starting with Hillary Clinton herself, Democrats have blamed James Comey for her loss to President Donald Trump. And yet when Trump fired the FBI director, those same Democrats rushed to defend him.

“Twilight zone,” Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook wrote on Twitter. “I was as disappointed and frustrated as anyone at how the email investigation was handled. But this terrifies me.”

Behind the apparent Democratic turnabout on Comey: While his pronouncements about his probe into Clinton’s handling of emails infuriated them, he’s also the man who’d been looking into whether Trump’s campaign had colluded with Russians. That left many blasting the firing as an abuse of power, even if as they did not quibble with the reasons the White House put forward as cause.

Comey “inflicted severe damage on the institution of the FBI,” said Brian Fallon, the Clinton campaign’s press secretary, an interview. Still, he said, the timing and manner of his dismissal suggests Trump was “feeling the heat on the ongoing Russia investigation” rather than executing “a well-thought-out response to the inappropriate handling of the Clinton investigation.”

Even some Republican voices are critical of the firing, as Breitbart reports on comments from conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer:

On Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” columnist Charles Krauthammer argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s claim that FBI Director James Comey should be fired due to his mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails is “highly implausible.”

Krauthammer said, “[A]ccording to the letter by the deputy attorney general, this is about something that occurred on July the 5th. This, it’s — so we start out with something that is highly implausible. If that was so offensive to the Trump administration, what you would have done is, in the transition, you would have spoken with Comey, and said, we are going to let you go. That’s when a president could very easily make a decision to have a change. That’s not unprecedented. But to fire him summarily with no warning, in the middle of May, because of something that happened in July, is almost inexplicable.”

He continued, “Do we really believe that Donald Trump, after all these months, decided suddenly he had to fire this guy because he damaged Hillary back in July? Another implausible conjecture.”

However, other outlets are defending the firing, such as the Wall Street Journal editorial board:

President Trump fired James Comey late Tuesday, and better now than never. These columns opposed Mr. Comey’s nomination by Barack Obama, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director has committed more than enough mistakes in the last year to be dismissed for cause.

And columnist Michael Goodwin, of the New York Post:

The suddenly-former FBI boss was long cavalier about making enemies among both Democrats and Republicans, as if going rogue repeatedly proved his rectitude. On occasion it did, but Comey increasingly wore his self-righteousness on his sleeve, confident he was too big to fire.

That was his fatal mistake. And it’s why Trump made the right decision to show him the door.

Comey’s power-grabbing arrogance is why I called him “J. Edgar Comey” two months ago. His willingness to play politics, while insisting he was above it all, smacked of Washington at its worst. He was the keeper of secrets, until they served his purpose.

President Trump himself responded to Democrats with several tweets sent out in the past twelve hours:

And the New York Times reports that the calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election are growing as a result of the Comey firing:

Mr. Comey’s firing immediately fueled calls for an independent investigator or commission to look into Russia’s efforts to disrupt the election and any connections between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russian government.

Calls to appoint an independent prosecutor have simmered for months, but until now, they had been voiced almost entirely by Democrats.

Mr. Comey’s firing upended the politics of the investigation, and even Republicans were joining the call for independent inquiries.

Just for the record, I’ll add my take on the Comey matter as well. I think the writing was on the wall for Comey ever since his actions during the 2016 campaign. Even if Hillary Clinton were to have been elected instead of Donald Trump, I believe Comey’s days would have been numbered. Whether Comey intended it or not, the F.B.I. became a political entity in 2016, with both Republicans and Democrats rooting for or against the agency depending on what Comey was saying with regard to Clinton’s or Trump’s Russian connections.

Back in the middle of January, just days before Trump’s inauguration, Bernie Sanders was one of the loudest voices saying Comey should resign:

Sen. Bernie Sanders(D-Vermont) called out FBI Director James Comey on Sunday During an interview on ABC’s This Week. Sanders said the way Comey handled Hillary Clinton’s email during the election “outrageous.”

During the interview, Sanders pointed out at the idea that Comey should “step down” from his position for his unacceptable behavior during the Presidential campaign.

Sanders said, “I think that Comey acted in an outrageous way during the campaign. No one can say that this was the decisive and this was what elected [Donald] Trump, but clearly his behavior during the campaign in terms of what he said in the week or two before the election was unacceptable.”

I happen to agree with Bernie on this one. The fact of the matter here is that Comey was doing one of three possible things during the 2016 election: playing politics on his own accord, letting politicians influence him, or simply illustrating his incompetence. You can pick which one is the best option.

However, Comey didn’t step down, Trump fired him. Therefore, this opens an entirely new can of worms for Trump as the appearance of impropriety is strong, especially given the ongoing investigations into campaign-related issues like the Trump-Russia investigation. As a result, it’s very possible that Congress may appoint an independent counsel to continue this investigation outside the administration and without the threat of dismissal. If Republicans in Congress agree with Democrats on the matter, the writing may be on the wall:

At least two Republicans on Tuesday cited the Comey firing in calls for Congress to create a special body to investigate the Russia matter, instead of or in addition to the investigations by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, said he was studying legislation that would create a special commission. And Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, called for the creation of a special select committee, which would be made up of members of Congress.

This story will be ongoing for weeks. Stay tuned.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. And they call Clinton crooked (despite there being zero evidence of it)? With Trump, it is blatantly obvious.

      • You realize it isn’t illegal to have a private email server nor to have classified documents on it, I assume? She was investigated over the course of many, many months and no wrongdoing was ever found, nor evidence of any interception of anything classified. And these investigations were run by Republicans so you can’t claim bias either.

        Trump, on the other hand, sacks the very man who is chiefly responsible for the investigation into Trump’s Russian ties. And that seems okay to you? Sheesh!

        • I wasn’t talking about Trump, but about Hillary. You are incorrect. Government business must be kept on government servers and classified documents require even stricter security measures. Ask anyone who has security clearance. They would have ended up in jail had they done what she did.

          • Would you actually be foolish enough to believe Hillary was actually Trump’s reason for firing Comey? He was afraid Comey was about to expose his Russian connections and other things we only guess about. With the exception of Ted Cruz and a few brimstone breathers, the Republicans have been very cautious with their remarks.

            It’s time you forgot Hillary. She is gone from political office and hashing over the use of private servers etc is useless talk.

            We don’t know yet what Comey’s reaction to his firing is, but we do know how he found out he was fired. Like the rest of us, he saw it on TV. This is how you fire someone Trump style.

            • “It’s time you forgot Hillary. She is gone from political office and
              hashing over the use of private servers etc is useless talk.”

              She broke the law and she shouldn’t get away scot free.

              Also, she’s been making moves indicating that she has returned to the political scene. Possibly back to the Senate.

              We don’t need another criminal in the Senate.

            • Can you identify the law you think she broke? And provide evidence that supports this claim? Despite two years of Republican investigations finding no such thing?

            • It’s called The Espionage Act. It is discussed here:
              http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/margaret-knapp/levin-sect-793-penal-code-what-hillary-clinton-has-worry-about

              This other article talks about the server before it was discovered to contain classified material and said that it would be illegal if it had:
              http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/mar/12/hillary-clintons-email-did-she-follow-all-rules/

              I had classifications under the DHS, DOD & DOE. Training for those always included the proper handling of classified material which includes the proper servers for it. Your training was obviously deficient.

            • The unfortunate thing for you here is that Clinton committed no espionage. There is zero evidence pointing to that, except sheer conspiracy theory. So, what you have referred to is irrelevant. She was cleared repeatedly of any wrongdoing. She got rapped on the fingers for carelessness which is all she was actually guilty of. Nothing remotely criminal. If she had, Republican investigations would have found her guilty. They were singularly incapable of doing so because there is no evidence to support that claim.

            • The US government does not use Mark Levin as their lawyer. No doubt he learned much, as Chief of Staff, from his former boss, Edwin Meese. Meese was Attorney General under Ronald Reagan and resigned rather than face Federal charges of — of influence peddling, selling federal jobs, cronyism, financial finagling, and the manipulation of federal investigations.

              The Espionage Act is a federal legislature enacted in 1917. The Act criminalizes and punishes espionage, spying and related crimes. The Act prohibits not only spying but also various other activities, including certain kinds of expression. The Act pursuant to 18 USCS § 793, provides that a person will be punished with fine or imprisoned not more than ten years if s/he copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense. The Act deems any person a criminal if s/he is found obtaining information with respect to the national defense with a reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the U.S.

              In 1941, the Supreme Court ruled on The Espionage Act again. The court made clear that if the law criminalized the simple mishandling of classified information, it could not survive constitutional scrutiny, writing:
              “The sections are not simple prohibitions against obtaining or delivering to foreign powers information… relating to national defense. If this were the language, it would need to be tested by the inquiry as to whether it had double meaning or forced anyone, at his peril, to speculate as to whether certain actions violated the statute”.
              In other words, the defendant had to intend for his conduct to benefit a foreign power for his actions to violate 793(f).

              The above is why Hillary Clinton will not, and cannot, be legally charged.
              It is obvious that your training did not teach you to read the bill for yourself.

            • Are you also foolish enough to believe that Bill Clinton met with Lynch to discuss their grandchildren?

            • hgb… The truth is: no one knows what Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch said to one another in their 30 minute meeting. So, whatever you or I or Trump suggests they talked about is simply guesswork. Clinton and Lynch are both gone from the political scene so you are simply rehashing old gossip ala Trump.

            • The Bill-Lynch meeting was at the end of June. Comey came out on July 5 to say Hillary is a jerk but couldn’t be prosecuted. That looks suspicious, of course, but I think Bill Clinton is foolish enough to visit Lynch without considering the optics.

              If the goal was to end the email issue, Comey would not have been so nasty in his comments about Hillary. The result was that Dems had to accept their candidate being described as a jerk, while Republicans were just further infuriated that nothing was found in the investigation.

              And that’s what dragged Comey into the campaign, along with his promise to tell Congress if anything changed. That made him feel it necessary to tell Congress they were looking at the Abedin emails, and again, when those were found to be totally irrelevant, he had to inject himself again.

              I think Comey IS “naseous” about getting involved in that, and it’ was all Bill Clinton’s fault.

            • Goethe…Former FBI Director James Comey has never said or referred to Hillary Clinton as a “joke”. Too much of a gentleman perhaps but what he said to Congress was:
              “And then my amazing people moved heaven and earth to do what was impossible to get through those e-mails by working 24 hours a day and then said, honestly, sir, we found tons of new stuff doesn’t change our view. And I said, are you sure, don’t do it just because you’re under pressure.
              They said, we’re sure, we don’t believe there’s a case against Hillary Clinton. I said, then by God, I got to tell Congress that and know I’m going to get a storm at me for that. But what I can promise you all along is I said to people, you may think we’re idiots, we’re honest people”.

              James Comey also said in his testimony that he was “’mildly nauseous’ over the idea he tipped the Election outcome”.

              Suspicions are not facts. What I stated in my above post are facts. It’s time to give Bill Clinton a rest period.

            • The word I used was “jerk,” facetiously, but it’s no worse than Comey’s actual words.

              My point was that Comey had gotten into the mess because Loretta Lynch felt that she couldn’t speak publicly about the matter, so soon after the Bill Clinton meeting.

            • Goethe… Loretta Lynch was James Comey’s superior (boss) in the Justice Department so she had every right to give Comey advise on handling any case he was on. The Justice Department has a policy not to speak publicly about any case under investigation. Comey defied this policy and spoke to the press about Hillary Clinton before fully investigating the charges.

              James Comey was cut from the same cloth as J Edgar Hoover in believing he was invincible from all forces, regardless of being right or wrong. Both men paid the price of an inflated ego by being fired.

              Forgive my country attitude but facetious and sarcastic remarks do not marginalize a serious subject.

              Again, neither you nor I know what Lynch discussed with Clinton. Speculation is simply bad gossip and show be avoided.

            • Nobody fired J. Edgar Hoover. They wouldn’t dare, because he had something on everybody. He was FBI chief till he died in 1972.

              My impression is that Comey has been an impressive administrator, and it is to Obama’s credit that he chose a Republican for the office. I don’t see him at all as a “showboat.” It was Congress that called him to testify. He didn’t go on news or talk shows. And he didn’t live on Twitter.

            • Hoover’s body was not autopsied and his remains were embalmed within hours which speaks of foul play in itself. While it is true, not you and not I, can speak with absolute sureity on this subject, we are each entitled to our beliefs. About the only true fact we know about the Director’s private life and death is that he is buried in a lead-lined coffin in Congressional Cemetery along with his many secrets.

              It is a known fact that Hoover’s faithful secretary for 54 years, Helen W. Gandy, in 1972, after the death of Hoover, said she had destroyed all his personal correspondence. She testified before a House subcommittee studying charges of F.B.I. harassment of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that Mr. Hoover had ordered her to do so. This was part of the individual personal secrets that Hoover collected in dossiers on politicans, famous people, rich people and some normal citizens like you and me, in case he needed a person’s cooperation.

              I do like your remark on Comey and Twitter.

            • And today, we learned that Comey made his July statement in a hurry, due to direct Russian meddling in the election. Which also clears Bill Clinton of liability in the matter.

          • I have been under precisely the same level of classified clearance personally and, I assure you, you are wrong. If your claim is that she was careless regarding her server security, I would agree. However, there is no basis for anything illegal in what she did. None of it was remotely illegal and there was no evidence of even the remotest interception of anything sensitive. I am curious as to what law you think she has broken. Every single investigation has found no evidence of any wrongdoing, merely carelessness. What evidence do you have, and for what crime? If she had committed one, the investigations would have ascertained this.

            Like I said, Trump has fired the very man responsible for investigating him. This is far more damning than any mere baseless claim against Clinton.

  2. With Nixon we needed Deep Throat to spill the beans – with 45 it’s right out in the open. Next move – Impeach the Asshole!

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