Comey's dismissal

Comey's dismissal

FBI Director James Comey was among the most unpopular people in Washington, bitterly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans. Then President Donald Trump fired him.

President Donald Trump continues his practice of upsetting apple carts, his abrupt dismissal of FBI Director James Comey being the latest demonstration of his awkward transition from business executive to chief executive.

In a presidency less than four months old, this may be his biggest controversy yet, and that's saying something.

But aside from the over-the-top reaction to Comey's dismissal in some quarters, what is there to make of Trump's decision?

While Trump officials assert that it was based on Comey's mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, reporting from the White House indicates that it was, instead, generated by Trump's growing anger at Comey over the pending investigation of Russia's influence on the 2016 presidential race and allegations that the Russians somehow improperly influenced Trump campaign officials.

That suspicion is generating suggestions of an impending constitutional crisis and ill-informed references to the Watergate scandal of the 1970s that substitute Trump's dismissal of Comey with President Richard Nixon's firing of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

For starters, this country does not have constitutional crises, although one could credibly argue that the Civil War was one. What it has are political messes that are cleaned up by using the tools provided by the U.S. Constitution.

The Cox dismissal was not a constitutional crisis. He was, through the traditional political process, replaced by an equally capable special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, and the Watergate investigation continued to its inevitable conclusion. The Russia investigation will continue along the same course, and if there's anything to it, the public will find out soon enough.

In the meantime, the public is left to judge the Comey matter on its merits.

He's always come across as a symbol of rectitude, an honest man trying to do the right thing as he maneuvered through the political land mines of Washington. Some have cast Comey as excessively self-righteous, characterizing his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as just another example of his moralistic zeal.

Clinton, while absolving herself of any blame, recently blamed Comey for her stunning loss to Trump in the presidential race. So did Senate Democrats, who just last week were clamoring for Comey's scalp when he testified before an oversight committee. As Democrats were vilifying Comey for costing Clinton the election, committee Republicans were blasting him for failing to pursue criminal charges against her.

Now those same Democrats are characterizing Comey's dismissal as a crime against humanity while some Republicans are questioning the timing, method and justification of the dismissal.

It's inarguable in some quarters that Comey improperly held a press conference in which he both blasted Clinton's handling of classified emails on her improper private computer server and then announced that there would be no criminal charges filed against her. Critics rightly say that the FBI, as an investigative body, has no standing to make such announcements, that it should have been left to the Justice Department. That's one reason why the Wall Street Journal characterized Comey as a "political rogue."

If Comey was wrong, it was for the right reasons. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was hopelessly compromised as a consequence of her hugely improper private meeting with former President Bill Clinton while the investigation was underway, a meeting that was supposed to remain secret but did not.

Comey was concerned about public suspicions that the fix was in, especially after the Lynch/Bill Clinton meeting. That's not a bad thing at a time when people are rightfully suspicious about what our elected and appointed officials are up to.

What's next?

So far at least, the reaction has been feverish. Congressional committees are launching investigations. The news media is focusing an intense spotlight on the story. Trump is said to be surprised by the backlash the dismissal has generated, another sign that he's a fish out of water when it comes to government and politics.

As for Comey, he seems to be the only person who's taking his dismissal in stride, urging his former FBI colleagues to do the same.

"I have long believed that a president can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I'm not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won't either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply," he said.

Comey was incorrect to a degree. His firing is done, but fireworks over it have just begun.

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Mr Dreamy wrote on May 14, 2017 at 9:05 am

FBI Director James Comey was among the most unpopular people in Washington, bitterly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans.

That is a lie. An out and out lie because this newspaper, no longer a source of thoughtful examination of BOTH parties, has become a mere tool of Trump. Comedy had great respect and loyalty from his agents and staff. A few Democrats and a few Republicans expressed dismay, but hardly what the N-G implies.

Because it is a lie. This paper is a joke. It's credibility is so much less than it used to be. A former opinion leader, it is now a pusillanimous follower of all things Trumpian. If you believe so much as the weather report in this paper you are a chump, fooled by self-promoting people whose purpose is not to lead, but to separate you from your money. 

As has been said, Sad.

read the DI wrote on May 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

At no point in your rambling, incoherent editorial were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

WiltonDiary wrote on May 15, 2017 at 11:05 am

This editorial sounds and reads like another John Foreman piece similar to the one he wrote when he stated he voted with the "vast majority" of Americans to elect Donald Judas TRUMP the pathological lying POTUS. A vast "majority " of Americans did not vote for TRUMP.

However a VAST majority of Americans don't trust or believe anything that comes out of TRUPMS mouth, and believes the POTUS is totally unfit, unqualified, and mentally unstable to serve as POTUS, in addition to being the most corrupt POTUS in US history.

Regardless of how the Democrats or Republician's felt about James Comey last week, TRUMPS firing of Comey is without a doubt, Obstruction of Justice, and an impeachable offense.

Trump ran a campaign based on hate. slime and lies, insulting his way to the WH,that continues today.

LIke a true dictator TRUMPS MO: Deceive, deny and then attack! He is a failed inept Autocrat and Tin-Pot Maniac who is working 24/7 as Putin's puppet to destroy the USA as a functioning Democracy and he must be stopped.

Invoking the 25th Amendment section 4, or outright Impeachment is in TRUMPS future. Anyone who defends his behavior is un American and/or Russian sympathizer. This is not about Republicans or Democrats this is about being American and putting Country before Party.

The VAST majority of Americans have had enough of TRUMPS daily buffoonery and childish Twitter incoherent ramblings.

TRUMP is a mentally ill man and it's either time for his family to intervene before he is hauled away in a straight-jacket, or sentenced to GITMO for life.

When the United States of American has a POTUS that cares more about what Alex Baldwin says and the size of his inaugural day crowd than governing for all Americans, we have a president on the brink!