No one expected Donald Trump to pick the nuclear option and sack FBI Director James Comey. The case for impeachment against an aggressive, unpredictable and deeply suspicious 45th President is now impossible to ignore.
- “Terminated and removed; President Trump removes FBI boss James Comey in middle of Russia investigation.
- Who is left to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia?
- Echoes of Nixon; is Trump on his way to full impeachment?
The news from the White House that Donald Trump had “terminated and removed” FBI Director Comey was unexpected with its timing suspicious to say the least.
In firing the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, a top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to influence the result of the controversial 2016 election, Donald Trump has committed the most brazen act of political strong-arming since the Watergate affair.
“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 to Mr. Comey, betraying the political act of meddling behind the decision.
In a particular act of the cruelty and ruthlessness that is rapidly characterizing the Trump administration, Mr. Comey learned from news reports that he had been fired while addressing bureau employees in Los Angeles. As television screens flashed the news of his shocking dismissal, Mr. Comey laughed, saying that he thought it was a prank at his expense.
But it was no prank and the act of political interference during an investigation is immediately creating a firestorm of controversy and accusations.
Tellingly, Republicans have also assailed the president for a “decision that is likely to be seen as suspicious”. Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, took to Twitter to support an independent commission to investigate the Russia links
Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Comey is his most brazen in his law enforcement purge. February saw Mr. Trump sack Sally Q. Yates, acting attorney general alongside, United States attorney Preet Bharara but the president’s firing of Mr. Comey has many comparing the incident to Richard Nixon’s handling of the Watergate scandal and wondering whether embattled, paranoid Trump can survive the year.
Not since Watergate has a president dismissed the person leading an investigation in which they are personally involved and this act of political interference is drawing sharp comparisons.
In what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” in October of 1973, President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate Hotel burglary that would eventually impeach Nixon and end his term in disgrace.
The popular response to this incident has been unfettered outrage and many are saying that the case to bring Trump to impeachment and end his term prematurely is now impossible to dismiss.
The Case for Impeachment of Donald Trump
“Any attempt to stop or undermine this F.B.I. investigation would raise grave constitutional issues,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, echoing the fiery language adopted by senior politicians.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote there was a “real and growing possibility Trump could be impeached” in an article for the New Yorker.
Trump’s approval rating was previously only forty per cent, the lowest of any newly elected President, and this latest scandal has him losing the remaining Republican politician support to an unsustainable low.
Mr. Comey’s firing flipped the politics of the matter, and now even Republicans were joining the demands for independent inquiries and a special counsel to take over the investigation into Russian interference.
In an example of crazy timing, the White House announced that Mr. Trump will meet Sergey V. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, on Wednesday morning at the White House.