The unexpected firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday when the FBI was ratching up its investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign raises questions about whether President Trump took advantage of his presidential powers to cover up and obstruct the work of an important domestic intelligence agency.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that just days before FBI Director Comey was fired, he asked the Justice Department for more prosecutors and personnel to accelerate the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.
The New York Times cited 4 Congressional officials who said that Director Comey’s request for additional legal resources was made to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy general, whose memo was later used to justify Comey’s abrupt dismissal from the FBI.
Now that Director Comey has been removed from the FBI, there is more uncertainty about the future of the FBI’s investigation of the case.
Two Congressional inquiries about Russian meddling remain dependent on intelligence data gathered from the FBI.
Although Press Secretary Sean Spicer made it clear during a White House press briefing on May 3rd that President Trump has full confidence in FBI Director Comey, since then the White House has provided inconsistent and contradictory information about Director Comey and the reasons behind his sudden termination from the FBI.
After firing Director Comey on Tuesday, President Trump cited Hilary Clinton’s e-mails as the primary reason for his termination from the Bureau.
However, in President Trump’s termination letter to Director Comey, he referenced the Russian investigation and made no mention of Clinton’s e-mails.
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment from the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau” President Trump wrote to Director Comey.
In a Wednesday White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders offered yet another explanation to reporters.
Secretary Sanders said that last Wednesday Director Comey went “around the chain of command” when deciding to take steps without talking to the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General while holding a press conference and informing them that he would not let them know what he was going to say.
When asked by a reporter about what was the tipping point when President Trump lost confidence in Director James Comey, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said it has been an “erosion of confidence” that the Director has displayed over the last several months and during the past year, “a lot of missteps and mistakes.”
Besides giving multiple explanations for Director Comey’s recent firing, the timing of his ousting from the FBI remains suspect.
Director Comey was terminated from the FBI as the Senate Intelligence Committee was issuing its first subpoena in the Russia investigation related to Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his past business dealings with Russia.
Flynn was fired from his position as national security adviser because he wasn’t honest and transparent with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after he failed to disclose about his past contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak before the U.S. presidential election.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also has a connection with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
On March 2nd, Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially recused himself from any investigations related to the presidential campaigns after he failed to disclose to U.S. Senators during his confirmation hearings about his own contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak before the U.S. presidential election.
Attorney General Sessions was identified in President Trump’s termination letter to Director Comey as someone who had recommended Director Comey’s dismissal from the FBI along with Deputy General Rod Rosenstein.
Democrats and moderate Republicans in Congress are now hoping to see the Department of Justice appoint a special investigator to take over the case after Director Comey’s sudden firing from the FBI.
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