The decision of President Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey over 100 days into his presidency has raised questions about the motives of his administration as it struggles to shake off lingering allegations about their past connections with Russia ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
FBI Director James Comey, who faced past criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over his handling of the investigations of Hilary Clinton’s e-mail server and the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, was given short notice on Tuesday that he’s no longer in charge of the FBI.
In a Tuesday statement from the White House Press Secretary, it was reported that President Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office and acted on the advice of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions” said the White House Press Secretary.
On March 2nd, Attorney General Jess Sessions had officially recused himself “from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States” which came after he failed to disclose to Senators during his confirmation hearing about his past contacts in 2016 with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak whose past contacts with Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn eventually led to Flynn’s ousting on February 13th.
In recent days, federal prosecutors from the FBI have pursued the investigation of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and issued grand jury court subpoenas involving his past business dealings in Russia and Turkey, according to CNN.
Speaking with CNN Host Jake Tapper on Tuesday evening, Senator Ed Markey (D- Mass) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned the reason that President Trump waited to fire FBI Director Comey now rather than months ago.
Senator Markey said that he believes the firing of FBI James Comey happened because the investigation was getting too close to the Oval office.
“I believe that this goes right to the heart of this compromise of our elections by the Russians. And the subpoenas which were being issued by James Comey and the FBI of General Flynn and General Flynn’s associates of others who were being probed because of their connections to the Russians during the campaign and after the campaign” Sen. Markey told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“And otherwise, this actually makes no sense. This is something I think has happened because this investigation is getting too close to the Oval office” Sen. Markey added.
President Trump admitted that the firing of FBI Director Comey was related to his past handling of Clinton’s e-mails.
Republican Senator John McCain released a statement on Tuesday expressing his disapproval of President Trump’s decision to remove FBI Director James Comey whom he called a “man of honor and integrity.”
“While the President has the legal authority to remove the Director of the FBI, I am disappointed in the President’s decision to remove James Comey from office. James Comey is a man of honor and integrity, and he has led the FBI well in extraordinary circumstances” Sen. McCain said.
Senator McCain pointed out that he’s long asked for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and said the president’s decision to remove the FBI Director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee.
Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer (D- New York) tweeted yesterday on Twitter, “President Trump fired Sally Yates, then Preet Bharara, Now Comey. Doesn’t seem like an accident. We must have a special prosecutor. If we don’t get a prosecutor, every American will rightfully suspect that the decision to fire #Comey was part of a cover-up.”
If we don't get a special prosecutor, every American will rightfully suspect that the decision to fire #Comey was part of a cover-up.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 9, 2017
President Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House on Wednesday which will mark his first meeting with a high ranking Russian official.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to Moscow to meet with Russian leaders in the Kremlin.
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