President Trump fires F.B.I Director James Comey

Here's the scoop from Michael D. Shear and Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times:

President Trump has fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the White House said on Tuesday.

Mr. Comey’s dismissal was a stunning development for a president that benefited from the F.B.I. investigation of the Democratic nominee during the 2016 campaign. Separately, the F.B.I. also is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election.

The abrupt firing raised questions over whether Mr. Trump was trying to influence the Russia investigation. But he said he was following recommendations from the Justice Department, which criticized how Mr. Comey concluded the investigation into Mrs. Clinton.

The former director found out about news of his firing the same way that professional athletes finds out they were traded:

 

It certainly feels like strange timing for the President to fire Comey a day after Sally Yates testified against the President in a Senate hearing. It's even more odd for the president to send Comey a letter in which he specifically mentions the Russian investigation. 

Here's a quote from the White House letter that had me shaking my head:

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter dated Tuesday to Mr. Comey.

The real question is, how are Democrats supposed to feel about this? On one hand, this is the person who voluntarily threw himself into the political fray before the last election, swaying voters in the final days before election day. On the other hand, Comey was heading up an investigation between Trump's campaign and their possible ties with Russia. 

Just this week Comey made inaccurate statements when testifying before congress about emails that were found on Anthony Weiner's laptop. Mr. Comey had said that there were hundreds or thousands of emails, of which some could have contained classified information. The FBI sent a correction letter to Congress stating that out of the 49,000 emails they pulled off of Weiner's laptop only two of the messages were found to contain any classified info and only a small number were relevant to the investigation. 

Was this the kind of gaffe that justifies the firing of a sitting F.B.I. Director? It seems odd that the President would rely on the advice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has previously recused himself from the Russia/Trump investigation - this certainly seems like a conflict of interest. When Republican Senators from Oklahoma have questions about the firing, it's probably time for us all to start asking some questions of our own. 

 

If there was ever a time to push for a completely independent congressional committee to take over the Trump/Russia investigation it would be now. It's a little horrifying to think that a President under a federal investigation has the power to fire the head investigator - that's a move that not even Nixon had the moxie to pull off. 

It's been a crazy news week, good thing it's almost Friday!

(It's Tuesday)