Archive for Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trump abruptly axes FBI’s Comey in midst of Russia probe

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

May 9, 2017, 5:07 p.m. Updated May 10, 2017, 1:34 a.m.

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— President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, dramatically ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's meddling in the election that sent him to the White House.

In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI. Comey has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his public comments on an investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email practices, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the closing days of last year's campaign.

Trump made no mention of Comey's role in the Clinton investigation, which she has blamed in part for the election result. But in announcing the firing, the White House circulated a scathing memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizing Comey's handling of the Clinton probe, including the director's decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing "derogatory information" about Clinton.

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the bureau's Trump-Russia probe, Rosenstein has been in charge.

This is only the second firing of an FBI director in history. President Bill Clinton dismissed William Sessions amid allegations of ethical lapses in 1993.

Comey was speaking to agents at the FBI's field office in Los Angeles when the news of his firing flashed on TV screens, according to a law enforcement official who was there. Comey initially chuckled, then finished his speech, said the official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Comey later left on a plane to return to Washington.

Democrats slammed Trump's action, comparing it to President Richard Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" decision to fire the independent special prosecutor overseeing the Watergate investigation in 1973, which prompted the resignations of the Justice Department's top two officials.

The Democrats expressed deep skepticism about the stated reasons for Tuesday's firing, raising the prospect of a White House effort to stymie the investigations by the FBI and congressional panels.

"This is Nixonian," Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., declared on Twitter. "Outrageous," said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, calling for Comey to immediately be summoned to testify to Congress about the status of the Trump-Russia investigation. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the White House was "brazenly interfering" in the probe.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Congress must form a special committee to investigate Russia's interference in the election.

Trump will now appoint Comey's successor. The White House said the search for a replacement was beginning immediately. Comey's deputy, Andrew McCabe, takes over in the interim.

Trump has ridiculed the investigations as a "hoax" and has denied that his campaign was involved in Russia's meddling. In his letter to Comey, he asserted that the FBI director had informed him "on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation."

Tuesday's stunning announcement came shortly after the FBI corrected aspects of Comey's sworn testimony on Capitol Hill last week. Comey told lawmakers that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, had sent "hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop, including some with classified information.

On Tuesday, the FBI told the Senate Judiciary Committee that only "a small number" of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices. Most of the email chains on the laptop containing classified information were not the result of forwarding, the FBI said.

Some lawmakers did welcome news of the dismissal.

"Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well," said Republican Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, chairman of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigating the Russian campaign interference.

Comey, 56, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the FBI post in 2013 to a 10-year term, though that appointment does not ensure a director will serve the full term.

Praised frequently by both parties for his independence and integrity, Comey has spent three decades in law enforcement.

But his prominent role in the 2016 presidential campaign raised questions about his judgment and impartiality. Though the FBI did not recommend charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information, Comey was blisteringly critical of her decision to use a personal email account and private internet server during her four years as secretary of state.

Comey strongly defended his decisions during the hearing last week. He said he was "mildly nauseous" at the thought of having swayed the election but also said he would do the same again.

Clinton has partially blamed her loss on Comey's disclosure to Congress less than two weeks before Election Day that the email investigation would be revisited. Comey later said the FBI, again, had found no reason to bring any charges.

Trump disagreed with Clinton's assessment, tweeting that Comey actually "was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!"

Clinton's advisers were stunned by Trump's decision Tuesday. Former campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said that while he believed Comey had "inflicted severe damage" on the FBI, "the timing and manner of this firing suggest that it is the product of Donald Trump feeling the heat on the ongoing Russia investigation and not a well thought out response to the inappropriate handling of the Clinton investigation."

Though Comey was well-liked within the bureau, his independent streak occasionally rankled the Obama administration, including his repeated contention that a spike in violent crime might be linked to police officer anxiety over public scrutiny.

Before the past months' controversies, Comey, a former deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, was perhaps best known for a remarkable 2004 standoff with top officials over a federal domestic surveillance program.

In March of that year, Comey rushed to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft to physically stop White House officials in their bid to get his ailing boss to reauthorize a secret no-warrant wiretapping program.

Comey described the incident in 2007 testimony to Congress, explaining that he believed the spy program put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was legally questionable.

When he learned that Andrew Card, the president's chief of staff, and Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel, were heading to Ashcroft's hospital room despite Ashcroft's wife's instructions that there be no visitors, Comey told Congress, Comey beat them there and watched as Ashcroft turned them away.

"That night was probably the most difficult night of my professional life," Comey said.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Trump was afraid that Comey has found the foot prints of Vladimir Putin in the cake.

Typical fascist procedure.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Fred, I would think you'd be glad that Comey is gone. If not for him, Hillary would be president.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Hillary IS the President is fact. She got the most votes. This makes you WINNER in ANY ELECTION ECCEPT THIS STUPID 18TH CENTURY FRAUD CALLED "THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE",

But since there is no stomach to amend this fraud from the Constitution we get an illegitimate perverted fascist, racist, incompetent, ignorant bigot as your "Commander in Chief".

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Like I said, Hillary was on her way to a sure victory until announced he was investigating her. Can't understand why you would support Comey after what he did to Hillary.

Brandon Devlin 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Eye rolls The Electoral College argument is old. Accept it Fred, or run for office and get it changed yourself.

Jason Johnson 1 month, 1 week ago

This is why the electoral college exists:

Election results by county

Election results by county by jhorus

Jeff Mitchell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Now all the libs love Comey, yesterday they hated him. All one needs to do is study the Soviet Union in the 1930s. These leftist idiots never change. One day he's an enemy of the people, the next..he's a god. They're truly spineless. Never heard a hoot out of any of them when the Soviet Union conspired against ALL post WW II Republicans...not a squeak. And I know that some of you educated KU profs KNOW that it happened. The Russians have ACTIVELY tried to influence every American election since at least 1944. Funny how it's only an issue when it cut against you.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Time for an independent investigation. Trump has fired anyone who is investigating him, and we can't trust the tea party Republicans to do anything. Maybe we can get some moderate Republicans to grow a pair. If he doesn't have anything to hide and his staff doesn't have anything to hide, why does he keep firing people who are trying to get to the truth? Oh yeah, it'a all Obama and/or Clinton's fault.

Richard Aronoff 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Read and learn, Dorothy. Read and learn.

https://jonathanturley.org/2017/05/09/trump-fires-fbi-director-james-comey/#more-115005

Despite the fact that Jonathan Turley hasn't read the Bible twice, I suspect he knows a lot more about this than you do.

Sam Crow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

But Dottie also knows "a lot of Christians and a lot of Catholics."

Justin Hoffman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Don't forget she knows all. She's an "expert" on everything. Almost like the Great and Powerful Oz, her name is Dorothy after all. (eye roll)

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Sam and Justin, for once try attacking the message rather than the messenger. Your constant put-downs of persons rather than content are tiring, banal, and frankly show no understanding of the issues at hand.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Oh yes. Try and change the subject. Typical.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Richard, go back to your own citation and read the first comment following the opinion piece. The point is that there is no reason the country can NOT be concerned with this cowardly firing, given the nearly "quid pro quo" Trump attempted in his dinner with Comey: am I under investigation? Good God! Comey is asking to keep his job, Trump asks if he, himself, is under investigation. What kind of person would pose an I winnable situation such as that? And you find this whole episode reasonable, let alone ethical? That says volumes about you who praise the firing of Comey.

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ego mania is getting in the way of law enforcement, practical and pragmatic government !

It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence.

Americans have placed vast military power at the discretion of this mind, a presidential discretion that is largely immune to restraint by the Madisonian system of institutional checks and balances.

So, it is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man whose combination of impulsivity and credulity render him uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-a-dangerous-disability/2017/05/03/56ca6118-2f6b-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.1869e61262cb

Where are the special prosecutors? with a large FBI team!

How many do we need for this administration?

Watergate,Iran Contra,several financial fiascos have occurred under the conservative umbrella since Reagan/Bush. So to say there is not a pattern is nonsense.

Why shouldn't law enforcement be interested in a man who got bailed out of bankruptcy through Russian crime bosses?

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-was-bailed-out-bankruptcy-russia-crime-bosses

David Reynolds 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ah, the Democrats are so predictable, accusing President Trump of firing FBI Director James Comey to stop the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

What's interesting about this is that it's not just the Russian issue that's at risk here, Hillary's escapades with the Clinton Foundation & her Email scandal are now totally open to investigation as well. Because now everything is fair game with a new FBI Director, & everything is tied together. All the democrats ought to think twice before they start asking for special prosecutors to handle the issues surrounding the 2016 election. I know the Democrats would like to think the Russian issue is a discrete issue, but there are a multitude of issues surrounding the election. All the folks covering for Hillary are now gone at the AG's office & at the FBI.

Also please remember 2 very important points: 1) Director Comey worked at a law firm that worked for the Clinton Foundation...conflict of interest anyone? 2) President Obama was in President Trump's shoes when the calls, in 2016, for Comey's termination were coming from congress & various past federal government officials. President Obama did nothing.

As a reminder the following folks who were calling for FBI Director's termination or expressing a lack of confidence in Comey as the FBI Director were:

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Rep Steve Cohan (D-Tenn) Former U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova

Senator Chuck Schumer said: "I don't have confidence in him any more". Rep Nancy Pelosi said "Maybe he's not in the right job". President Obama was not happy with James Comey for breaking protocol, yet president Obama did nothing.

Bernie Sanders said "It would not be a bad thing for Comey to step-down" (1/5/2017) Republicans also rebuked Director Comey for his actions prior to the election.

President Trump took action on Director James Comey only after the recommendation of both the newly appointed Deputy AG Director, James Comey's new immediate boss, & AG Sessions both recommended Comey be terminated. Something President Obama should have done last year.

It should be noted that the senate is slow walking Trump's appointments thus impeding actions. So the new appointee acts as soon as possible and the Dems accuse President Trump of underhanded actions... amazing.

As I said before the Democrats need to be careful what they ask for, special prosecutor or not. Remember the famous "Blue Dress"?

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

David, not a single thing you said makes this a good move. Comey's popularity or lack thereof is of no import here. The issue is the appearance of deep impropriety in firing the man who is in charge of investigating possible wrongdoing by the president's campaign. If you think that is just hunky dory, then you are quite possibly not aware of law.

Or, as usual, are more concerned with defending the indefensible moves your guys make than learning the truth, whatever it may be. And that is how you he republic crumbles, mister. You really want to defend that?

Lee Henry 1 month, 2 weeks ago

If the Dems would realize that they lost and then try to work with thew present Administration maybe things would get done....Quit crying over spilled milk it's over...you lost....now as true Americans lets band together and try to get this Nation back to where it should be...

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Band together? Do Republicans not want all the credit for tolerating Russian interference with our elections? Do they Republicans not want all the credit for a lousy health bill? Democratic senators have called for Republican senators to come and talk about fixing the problems with the ACA, but McConnell snubbed them. Who doesn't want to work together for the American people?

I realize that winning is everything to you, but at what cost? Are you not upset at hacking of anyone's emails? What if one of your politicians are next? How many hours and money were spent on an investigation of Clinton for a terrorist attack done by terrorists, not by Clinton? Why are you afraid of this investigation?

If the investigation goes forth, and Trump is cleared of any participation, won't you be happy? And wouldn't you want to know if he or his people are involved? Why wouldn't you want to know? If Russia did this all on their own with the help of the slime ball Assange, then we know who not to trust, and we need to finally get Assange into a prison. He is doing really well taking down the US. If you want to unite, lets start uniting against our real enemies.

Rick Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

No historical significance to see here, folks. Move along.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

No historical knowledge here, Rick. Move over, because history will roll right over those of you who don't know history.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I have been waiting patiently for enough information surface on this non-president to effect the congress to impeach him. It would seem that Trump is assisting well into this need. Similar events in the Nixon administration resulted in his resignation (I am old enough to remember Richard Nixon) in dire peril of impeachment.by the congress.

His secret dealings laid out in his tax returns that he has repeatedly stated he would release at the completion of an (IRS audit). This has not happened. The business dealings of Trump are well known and should have teen a big red flag to all Trump supporters. But the hateful, racist disgust of many people against Barack Obama and his consort, Hillary Clinton overshadowed sane and reasonable attitudes towards this perverted, incompetent fool running as the illegitimate Republican candidate (he only got 30% or so of the primary votes).

And the FBI director played right into Trump's hands with his sabotage of the Clinton campaign with his incendiary (and fraudulent) statements just prior to the election.

This election is one of the most illegitimate and fraudulent actions that has ever occurred in the history of United States elections. A lot of very intense and careful investigation including the repeal and removal of the Electoral College are certainly in order.

But will that happen? Not if "President" Trump has a hand in it.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Fred, what do you think his tax returns could contain that would result in proof of criminal wrongdoing? Keep in mind the federal government, even while under Obama, had a copy so it seems unlikely there is proof of criminal activity there, but I'd like to know what you think could be revealed by releasing them.

Sam Crow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Do you actually read his fantasy drivel ?

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I am almost embarrassed to say I do. I know he is like the crazy guy on the street corner ranting incoherently but I can't resist area ding his posts and then asking him for facts. Perhaps it is juvenile on my part but I do delight in picturing him thinking how he can refute what I wrote and then just giving up.

Justin Hoffman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Your constant whining over the election makes me laugh. Keep up the good work!

Brandon Devlin 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Fred, how exactly do you impeach a "non-president?" I've been wondering.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It appears from Fred's post you do it with "non-sense."

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

So the people who wanted Comey fired are now outraged that he's been fired?

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Simple answer, yes. Unfortunately for those who don't have much depth of thought when it comes to human interactions, the reason that we are "outraged" is because of the appearance that Trump is trying to squash the investigation into his campaign's collusion, or lack thereof, with Russia, as well as the FACT that there he story about why Comey was fired has changed several times in the last two days.

If the president can not be trusted to tell the truth about this, he can certainly not be trusted to run the nation.

Those are my reasons. They have nothing to do with my love for Comey. But you probably know that. That small fact just doesn't fit your little view of reality.

Scott Kaiser 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Typical Lib crybabies. They hated Comey and when Trump fired him, now there is love. SMH. Go crawl into your safe place corner and suck your binkies.

Justin Hoffman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Liberals hate him, then they love him. They don't know what they believe anymore.

Harlan Hobbs 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The Democrats have been reduced to blathering idiots. This is hilarious.

They are defending the man who Hillary Clinton says cost her the election, who was fired at the recommendation of the Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Rosenstein, who is a Democrat and a previous Obama appointee to a position in Maryland, and who was recently confirmed by the Senate in a vote of 94 to 6. By the way, who are the six smucks who voted against him. I'll bet I can guess most of them.

The left's hyperbolic and hypocritical hallucinations are a disgrace, and it should be no surprise that they have lost power on a massive scale all over the country.

Haven't heard from Madame Hillary yet, but if I were her, I would be a little worried. I say let's proceed with all investigations including her handling of classified material, the e-mails on Anthony Weiner's computer, and her blatant lies and stonewalling of the attacks in Bengazi.

In the end, there will be no evidence of collusion with the Russians by the Trump campaign, as everyone with half a brain and who has knowledge of the investigation knows. Even Diane Feinstein, James Clapper, etc., etc., etc. have confirmed this fact. Nevertheless, go ahead with all of the investigations, and we will see who has egg on their face when all and said is done.

Also, a note to the LJW, not surprising that your headline is intended to cast motives on the firing. The truth is that, if Hillary had been elected, Comey would have been fired on day 1, and we wouldn't have heard a peep out of the Democrats.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Agree with all except the last sentence. The Dems and the media would not have been quiet if Hillary fired Comey. The headlines would have been something like, President Hillary Clintontakes decisive action and purges corrupt head of FBI.

Michael Kort 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Sooner or later Trump will push the envelope of decency and lying too far ...........and get himself caught and impeached .

Trump is a sociopath and Putin has been learning about Trump the hard way, for his troubles at getting hm elected ( buyers remorse ) .

Trump's going to build that wall that Mexico is going to pay for !.....UHHH ?

Trump is going to put China back into their box on currency manipulations.......UHHH ?

With his little finger Trump will remove us from NAFTA and NATO if he doesn't get his way ......UHHH ?

And now he says that he could make peace in The Middle East......UHHH ?........hasn't everyone going foreword from Harry S. Truman failed at that one,...including the whole UN .

Is the Washington swamp getting drained ?........more Banksters and oil patch cronies !

What did Flynn have on Trump ?.......... that caused Trump to take 18 hesitant days to fire him ?

Why has Flynn volunteered to testify if given personal immunity ?

Maybe Flynn should be taken up on his offer to testify !......before he meets an unfortunate accidental ending at the hands of Putin or Trump .

David Reynolds 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The Democratic Hive Mentality is alive and well. The minions follow the establishment line.

There is not one original thought amoung any if the dems. The Hive is single minded in their attacks to protect Queen Hillary.

The Hive is also confused...the Hive was wanting Comey fired before Comey was fired, and then the Hive was against his firing because they fear the Hive won't get President Trump imoeached.

The Hive is so funny, but their actions clearly demonstrate how manic depressive the Hive is.

Where was the Hive when Clinton fired Sessions back in '93?

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The fact that Hillary and Huma aren't looking at prison terms is a shame and disgrace. That alone should get every person in the DOJ who got their job by appointment fired.

David Reynolds 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Greg just read your blog.

First the Russia investigation is still going on. It has been going on since last July. Don't you think if there was an issue it would have turned up by now? Especially given the leaking in Washington.

2ndly there are several reasons why Comey was fired. Sorry President Trump didn't send you a tweet outlining his many reasons.

Aren't you embarrassed by the Dems who wanted him fired & Schumer who said he had lost confidence in him & Pelosi who said Comey probably had the wrong job & Bernie Sanders said fire him, even Rosie O'Donnell said fire Comey.

So I can't get all stired up by this fake indignation.

This fske outrage by the Dems is part of the agend of the Hive to try to dsmage Trump. Sorry but it is doing the opposite. The credibility of the Hive is the one getting further tarnished.

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