Ethics & Religion
May 11, 2017
Comey Fired for Wrong Reasons
By Mike McManus
Perhaps I am the only columnist who called last week for the firing of
FBI Director James Comey before Trump did so. But he was fired for the
wrong reasons, which could halt the crucial investigation into the
Trump-Russia connection. Trump could appoint a new FBI Director who
won't embarrass the President.
Comey conducted two investigations one regarding Clinton's emails, and
the other about whether Trump's staff worked with Russians to defeat
Clinton. Normally, FBI investigations are secret, and only become public
if charges are to be filed.
However, Comey made two major public statements about Clinton - one in
July when he said some emails contained classified information that was
"extremely careless," but not prosecutable. Then on October 28, only 11
days before the election, he announced he had discovered more emails
that needed investigation. Clinton's poll numbers immediately fell 3%,
from which she never recovered.
However, Comey also began an investigation in July into the possible
collusion between members of Trump's campaign staff and top Russians. He
found many connections. The Democratic National Committee's computer was
hacked apparently by Russians, as was the computer of her campaign
manager. Thousands of emails were published by Wikileaks, undermining
However, Comey did not announce his investigation into the Trump-Russian
connection until March - months after the election. His silence helped
Trump defeat Clinton.
I charged that "in both cases, Comey should have remained silent - or
gone public about both well before the election."
He put two thumbs on the scale to hurt Clinton and none to hurt Trump.
That is manifestly unfair, and a role the FBI has never taken before.
The FBI has always been neutral with regard to elections.
That's why Comey deserved to be fired.
However, the reasons given for the firing of Comey make no sense. Rod
Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, said Comey's statement on July 5,
2016 announcing the case should be closed without prosecution, should
never have released "derogatory information about the subject of a
declined criminal investigation," which he called "a textbook example of
what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do."
This criticism was endorsed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said
the Director of the FBI must be someone who follows faithfully the rules
and principles of the Department of Justice."
Three questions: If Comey's treatment of Clinton was so unfair, why
didn't President Obama fire Comey? That might have helped Hillary win
Second, why did Trump praise Comey for reopening the investigation into
Clinton's emails a few days before the election? He said, "It brought
back his reputation. It took a lot of guts" for him to decide the agency
should review new evidence. Comey helped throw the election which
Finally, if Trump felt Comey had undermined "public trust and
confidence" in the agency, why didn't he fire the Attorney General on
his first day in office? Clearly, he was grateful - until Comey
announced his investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion in March.
As The New York Times put it, "Mr. Comey was fired because he was
leading an active investigation that could bring down a president...So
far, the scandal has engulfed Paul Manafort, one of Mr. Trump's campaign
managers; Roger Stone, a longtime confidant; Carter Page, one of the
campaign's early foreign policy advisers; Michael Flynn, who was forced
out as national security adviser; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions,
who recused himself."
However, Sessions ignored his own pledge to recuse himself in signing
the letter urging Trump to "remove Director James B. Comey, Jr."
Trump hopes to appoint a milquetoast as FBI Director. As Trump said on
Monday, "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax. When will
this taxpayer funded charade end?"
However, the President is not above the law. He may have temporarily
crippled the FBI's credibility to carry out an investigation of him and
his staff, many of whom were getting big bucks from Russia.
However, Republican Senators such as Lindsey Graham, John McCain and
even Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - are
now agreeing with Democrats that there is a need for a Special
America lived through a similar painful era of the Saturday Night
Massacre in October, 1973 when President Nixon ordered the firing of the
Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox investigating Watergate. Attorney
General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William
Ruckelshaus resigned rather than fire him.
Ultimately, Cox was fired. But Nixon was forced to resign.
Trump has not learned that history lesson.
Copyright (c) 2017 Michael J. McManus,
President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous
columns go to
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