On Tuesday morning, the FBI was led by director James Comey. By Tuesday evening, he would be unexpectedly fired, birthing a new political firestorm at a time when it was just starting to seem that Trump had started to regain his footing.
Here is what we know:
According to the New York Times, both Comey and the FBI were completely caught off guard by the move. According to the reasoning given by Sean Spicer and the Trump Administration, one reason for his firing was the recommendation by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a man who had previously recused himself from all matters relating to the ongoing Russian investigation. We also know that in the letter sent from Trump to James Comey, it literally included the following phrase, “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation…”. This just goes to show how green this administration is – the optics of all this will only feed criticisms from the left and hurt the GOP’s chances in 2018. Even from a conservative perspective, the viewpoint I personally hold, is that there is a lot to criticize about this decision.
Firstly, as a supporter of freedom and liberty, and a proponent of a smaller and weaker government, it’s disconcerting to such an unprecedented power grab by the executive branch. Typically, there is restraint on the part of presidents when it comes to interfering with the FBI – an organization which is, in principle, is meant to be bipartisan (with ten year terms) and a check on the administration’s power (especially when it comes to being able to have full control over its own investigations).
Even more disquieting is the reasoning given for Comey’s dismissal. According to the logic of Rod Rosenstein, the assistant attorney general, he was fired for an overstepping of bounds during the 2016 election. This is ridiculous, especially coming from the side that won. Are we supposed to punish the FBI director for taking the reins from then attorney general Loretta Lynch, a woman who attempted to secretly meet with Bill Clinton to ostensibly only discuss grandchildren? Comey is not an example of our nation’s best FBI directors, he likely shouldn’t have publicly announced a reopening of the email investigation after discovering the Weiner emails. There probably should have been an indicting of Clinton for the obvious pay-to-pay that existed (or at least giving the case to a grand jury), and Comey definitely got the facts wrong last week when he mistakenly said the FBI had found “hundreds and thousands” of emails sent from Huma Abedin to her husband. This, however, is not a good enough reason for his dismissal. With the Russian investigation having been severely mishandled up until now by the circus that is currently Congress, the FBI’s role is now more important than ever, especially as we learn more about Michael Flynn and Russian interference in elections worldwide. Democrats will take advantage of all of this, no doubt.
I’m not saying Trump is guilty of all or any of what they will charge, just that from a political perspective, Comey’s firing was a mistake. It will appear Nixonian to the public, and likely, in the short term, hurt the ability of the brave counter-terrorists and patriots in the FBI protecting our great nation. I trust that the administration will appoint a competent director in Comey’s place.