“Were these investigations getting too close to home for the President? This does not seem to be a coincidence.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
The White House has announced that FBI Director James Comey “has been terminated and removed from office”. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
Officially, Comey was fired over his handling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Critics believe that he was fired because the FBI was investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“Today, President Donald J Trump informed FBI director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office. President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
Comey found out he had been fired from ‘breaking news alerts’ on TV screens as he delivered a speech to FBI staff in Los Angeles.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
On Tuesday (May 9 2017), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote:
“I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgement that he was mistaken”.
“Almost everyone agrees the director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”
Rosenstein concluded that Comey had been wrong to “usurp” the previous attorney general in July 2016 when he announced the Clinton emails inquiry should be closed without prosecution and that he had compounded his error by “gratuitously” releasing “derogatory information” about Mrs Clinton.
“Compounding the error, the director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation … ”
“The director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial.”
“It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”
[Note: Keep in mind that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the Acting Attorney General as far as the Trump-Russia investigation is concerned.]
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The Trump-Russia Investigation
Critics suggest that president Trump has fired Comey to influence the FBI inquiry into whether members of the Trump election campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
Chuck Schumer, Democratic minority leader in the Senate, said he told Trump, who called to notify him before making the firing public, “you’re making a very big mistake.”
“If deputy attorney general Rosenstein does not appoint an independent special prosecutor, every American will rightly suspect that the decision to fire director Comey was part of a cover-up.”
A Nixonian move?
The firing of James Comey is drawing comparisons with the Watergate scandal. On Tuesday, the New York Times wrote:
“Not since Watergate has a president dismissed the person leading an investigation bearing on him.”
Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said:
“This is Nixonian. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special counsel to continue the Trump/Russia investigation … this investigation must be independent and thorough in order to uphold our nation’s system of justice.”
On Tuesday (May 9 2017), CNN reported that a grand jury had begun issuing subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser at the centre of the ongoing inquiry into Russian meddling in the election.
The report suggests that the FBI’s investigation has entered a significant new phase.
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