DemDaily: Comey Explained
May 10, 2017
Never a dull moment! President Trump fired embattled Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey yesterday -- who joins former US Attorney Preet Bharara, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on the list of former administration officials who were fired while investigating the President.
As the head of the nation's top law enforcement agency, Comey was leading the criminal investigation into the role of Trump's top officials and campaign aides in the Russian government's efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is appointed for a single 10-year term by the President and confirmed by the Senate. As head of the FBI, the Director is responsible for its day-to-day operations. The Director reports to the Director of National Intelligence (who reports to the President) and is also supervised by the Attorney General, as the FBI is an agency of the Department of Justice.
The White House cited the President's "loss of confidence" in Comey's ability to lead the agency, pointing to his mishandling of the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while Secretary of State.Although Comey ultimately did not pursue charges against Clinton, his highly controversial public decision to re-open the investigation just weeks before the presidential election is credited by many with delivering Trump the election.
"Comey's removal at this particular time will raise questions" Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN)
Trump, who previously praised Comey for his "guts" in his pursuit of Clinton during the campaign, has reportedly been enraged by Comey's refusal to shut down the expanding Russia probe.
The news of the abrupt firing, which officially came at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, set off a political and public firestorm of critism from Members of Congress and commentators -- questioning the optics and ethics of a sitting president intervening in an investigation involving his own actions.
"I've spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey's firing. I just can't do it."
-- Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Twitter
Comey, who was appointed by President Obama in 2013, found out from live TV reports while he was speaking to FBI employees in Los Angeles. He later received a personal letter from the President.
Comey's dismissal also comes on the heals of a new round of subpoenas issued by federal prosecutors related to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's russian financial connections.
Democrats, and an increasing number of Republicans, have called for a Special Council to take over the investigation into the Russian election tampering probe.FBI Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe will serve as Acting Director until a replacment announced.
And President Trump? The sole appointment on his schedule today was with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. Reporters were barred from the meeting.
DemList will keep you informed on all developments.
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