President Trump took a big step on May 9 when he fired FBI Director James Comey. Although many people in Congress and in government had been critical of Comey, his sudden firing was somewhat unexpected.
As soon as the news got out, rumors started to fly around Washington. Indignant Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer demanded a special investigation of Trump’s connections with Russia. A number of prominent Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who had at one time been harshly critical of Comey, took to defending him and accusing Trump of trying to cover up incriminating evidence involving connections to Russia.
But the fact of the matter is that Comey’s termination had been a long time coming. Trump had been willing to put up with Comey’s mistakes up until recently, but his frustrations with the FBI director had been mounting. Here’s a look back at five of the biggest mistakes the bureau chief made during his tenure:
- Not Recommending the Prosecution of Hillary Clinton for Her Email Server Scandal
Hillary Clinton was guilty of many offenses arising from her use of a private email server. She erased records, lied to investigators, ordered subordinates to destroy computer hardware and offered unreasonable excuse after excuse for why top secret emails had been sent from and received by her private server, which was never supposed to have been utilized in the first place.
It became a total charade that Comey dragged the investigation of her server out as long as he did, and now, based on damning emails about Loretta Lynch, in hindsight, it looks as if Comey might have been timing it so that the initial closure of the case could come conveniently before Clinton was named the Democratic nominee at her party’s national convention in Philadelphia.
- Taking Direction So Closely from Attorney General Loretta Lynch
It now appears, based on Democratic emails uncovered about ex-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, that Comey was well under her wing and unlikely to go against her wishes involving the investigation and possible prosecution of Clinton.
Even though Comey did re-open the investigation into Clinton briefly in October of last year, his hand was more or less forced in the matter by the revelation of Clinton emails discovered on former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s personal laptop. In fact, there were rumors that it was only threats of mass resignations from lower-level bureau employees (which would have been publicly intolerable for Comey) that spurred the bureau head into action.
- Using the “Dirty Dossier” on President Trump as a Trusted Source of Information
Despite its being discredited early in January, the so-called “Dirty Dossier” on President Trump that was written by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele was passed around Washington like a cheap second-tier lobbyist. Comey knew that at least some of the material in the dossier had been paid for and therefore was probably fake, but he forged ahead and maintained that it was useful as documentation that Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians in 2016.
- Asking for More Resources to Investigate the Trump-Russia Connection
Despite other people in the intelligence community — most notably, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who is no friend of Donald Trump’s — saying there was no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign, Comey wanted to keep beating this dead horse.
Like former President George W. Bush’s insisting that there were weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq in 2003, Comey just didn’t want to give up on this story. A few days before his firing, Comey requested more resources and personnel for his investigation. But blatantly discussing the digging up of dirt on one’s superior (the president) was just asking for trouble.
- Refusing to Offer a Preview of His Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee
Comey’s refusal to offer a preview to President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions of his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3 — a typical courtesy afforded by those working for the president — was insubordination, according to Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “It gave the impression that [Comey] was no longer capable of carrying out his duties,” said one official close to the matter.
During the hearing itself, Comey refused to answer questions from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa about Loretta Lynch, which patently showed where the Director’s loyalties lay. Even though Comey mumbled a few statements about not being able to answer in public due to classified information and sources, he should have at least been able to provide some information to the Senator at that moment. This was the nail in the coffin for Comey and the point at which the Trump administration was able to see there was no point in continuing to have this man working for it.
Comey isn’t the first FBI Director to have been fired. William Sessions was terminated by former President Bill Clinton in 1993. And a number of FBI Directors in the past have been controversial, to say the least. It was rumored that former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was so powerful and had such incriminating information on multiple presidents that they were afraid to fire him. He ended up serving 38 years, until his death in 1972. In 1976, the term of FBI Director was fixed at 10 years, which is still a very long time for an appointment in government.
Comey served for almost four of those ten years. As a former director of banking giant HSBC and the onetime general counsel of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, Comey should probably not have too tough a time finding work in the private sector if he wants it. And of course, there will likely be books about his tenure as FBI Director, perhaps maybe even one from the man himself.
In the meantime, the political storm over his termination will probably continue to sputter for a while but will soon die down. Whether Democrats will succeed in their efforts to appoint a special investigator for the Russian collusion allegations is probably unlikely. For many in Washington, time marches on, and Comey’s dismissal is merely a small bump in the road.
~ American Liberty Report