The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Michael Burns
Representing the Right 

Tuesday Night Massacre

 


On Tuesday, the 9th of May, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, was dismissed without warning by President Trump. The coined phrase, “you’re fired” is back. Forty-three years ago on an October night, the then under investigation President Nixon ordered the firing of the special prosecutor of the Watergate scandal but it was denied by the attorney general, who immediately resigned; and then denied by the deputy attorney general, who also immediately resigned. This short cycle of concurrent events was dubbed the Saturday Night Massacre. The Trump and Nixon removal of key justice department heads are being compared with similar verbiage, however, with what was a controversial and incompetent figure as the head of the FBI, they are false equivalents.

Comey admits in a letter to a select few of his colleagues after his firing, “I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all.” Though long in the making, the dismissal was finally made after a recommendation was received from the attorney general and the deputy attorney general in two strong letters to Trump. The deputy attorney general opens with the lines, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice.” The assessment is correct but it comes almost a year late to many Republicans who believe Comey handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation poorly and to many Democrats who believe the unorthodox October surprise letter Comey sent reopening the investigation was a fatal error. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he no longer had confidence in Comey any longer. For once Democrats, Republicans and even the media all seemed to have an aligning desire, to fire James Comey.

The deputy attorney general continues asserting it was wrong for Comey to usurp the power of the attorney general last July by announcing his conclusion that the Clinton case should be closed without prosecution but instead the findings should have been given to federal prosecutors. Eric Holder, Obama’s former attorney general, with regards to the October surprise, was quoted in the letter saying the Director’s decision was incorrect and violated longstanding Justice Department policies and traditions. He went on, saying Comey had broken these fundamental principles and negatively affected public trust in the FBI and the Justice Department.

Political crisis brings forth the hypocrites who trade their word for new political capital. Schumer and his Democratic colleagues who once wanted Comey fired for negatively affecting Hillary in the election now are calling the decision a big mistake. Schumer taunted, “were those investigations getting too close to home for the President?” The media joined the meltdown. The Atlantic called it a coup. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin compared it to third-world dictatorships.

And maybe they’re right. But, then this would be one of the worst coverups of all time. At least with Nixon, it was established that a crime had been committed to cover up in the first place. Comey testified in March that since last July the FBI had been investigating any possible collusion from the Trump campaign with Russia to influence the election. So far, Comey and members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have stated there has been no evidence of such, and moreover, certainly nothing connected directly to Trump.

Trump has gone back and forth with his comments on Comey. At one point criticizing him for apparently letting Hillary off the hook and at other moments saying he had faith in him and wanted to give him a chance. In an interview with the Fox Business network last month, Trump said it wasn’t too late to ask Comey for his resignation. The final straw possibly happened just days before he was terminated. Comey was testifying on behalf of the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner/Hillary Clinton classified email scandal. It broke that his testimony was false. He downplayed the number of newly discovered classified emails by hundreds. After the story hit, to avoid perjury, he sent an official correction letter. After stringing an ever-growing web of incompetence, it was time for Comey to go.

Regardless of past contributions to the FBI, to which we are indebted, it was imperative that Director Comey be removed in order for a rebirth of public trust to take place. The man, who took down Martha Stewart for lying to investigators about a stock sale, didn’t admit he was mistaken regarding the judgement and handling of Hillary Clinton’s deletion of thousands of classified emails after receiving a congressional subpoena. Comey famously disregarded Stewart’s celebrity status. He believed she should not receive special treatment saying, “Martha Stewart is being prosecuted not for who she is but what she did.” He failed to use the same method on Hillary, which is applied to any other government employee who has received jail time for lesser offenses.

If Trump wanted to suppress the Russian investigation, it would of made much more sense to release Comey shortly after the inauguration in January. He would of had the understanding of the public as a new President looking for new leadership and he would have pleased his opposition still fuming at Comey after the election loss. Trump was within his presidential right to discharge Comey and, for now, nefarious motives are nothing but fan-fiction from the Democratic Party. It’s granted, these events may appear to be in poor timing - but when has Trump not danced to the music only he can seemingly hear? Michael Burns is the Finance Chair for the Valley County Republicans Central Committee.

 

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