FBI Director James Comey is now former FBI Director James Comey. In a surprising move, Trump fired Comey yesterday.
Comey, if you will recall, pissed off a lot of Republicans last summer when he concluded the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email servers by saying that there will be no criminal charges recommended against Clinton, and then he pissed off Democrats by announcing shortly before the 2016 election that the investigation into Clinton’s emails would be re-opened, a move that many Democrats feel cost Clinton the election. Strangely enough, these are some of the reasons cited by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in his letter recommending Comey’s termination. Trump’s termination letter and the recommendations from Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions can be read here.
This smells fishy. In fact, it stinks. It seems odd that the reasons they are citing for Comey’s termination have to do with his handling of the Clinton investigation and they waited until now to address the issue. Apparently, neither Trump nor Sessions spent too much time making their decisions after Rosenstein’s recommendation since all three letters are dated May 9, 2017. Terminating Comey at this time throws a monkey wrench into the Russia probe and it will be interesting to see how they spin this.
That is a big issue right there, but another thing that bothers me a lot is the way in which Comey was dismissed. According to CNN:
Comey learned of his dismissal from televisions tuned to the news, as he was addressing the workforce at the FBI office in Los Angeles, law enforcement sources said. The source said he made a joke about it to lighten the mood and called his office to get confirmation.
So the guy learned of his firing from TV news. Classy.
I didn’t always agree with Comey’s judgement. I thought his fight with Apple over unlocking an iPhone involved in the San Bernardino shootings was stupid and misguided. I found his actions during the 2016 election year regarding the Clinton email investigation bizarre. But I, for one, never actually felt that his choices were politically motivated. My impression of him, despite my disagreement with his methods, was that he was a sincere guy in a tough spot trying to do his job the best he can. And remember: Comey was the guy that stood up to the Bush administration’s illegal surveillance program in 2004.
By most accounts known to me, Comey, while not perfect (who is?) is a man of integrity. You’d think that the least Trump could have done would be to fire him in private and save the guy some embarrassment. But no. Trump didn’t have the balls to fire him in person. Instead Comey had to find out he got fired from the TV, and in front of subordinates no less. Whatever one thinks of Comey’s actions during the 2016 election, he didn’t deserve to get fired like that.
It’s obvious to me that Comey’s dismissal is another move to disrupt the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. And the way Trump fired him is just another example of how much of a dick he is.
EDITED TO ADD:
A tweet from Edward Snowden:
This FBI Director has sought for years to jail me on account of my political activities. If I can oppose his firing, so can you.
@Snowden, 9 May 2017