Friday, May 12

James Comey’s Conspicuous Independence

"On Tuesday, when Donald Trump abruptly dismissed the F.B.I. director, James Comey, his Administration insisted that he was merely following the recommendation of his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, the two most senior officials in the Justice Department. ... In a three-page memorandum attached to Comey’s termination letter, the Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein, cited concern for the F.B.I.’s 'reputation and credibility.' He said that the director had defied Justice Department policies and traditions and overstepped his authority in the way he handled the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. ... In the aftermath of Comey’s firing, Democrats and some Republicans in Congress have proposed a far more credible explanation for Trump’s action, accusing the President of trying to halt the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with his campaign. Some of those legislators, as well as many critics in the press, have said that Trump has ignited a constitutional crisis, and they called for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to carry out the Russia investigation. ..."
New Yorker
New Yorker: Donald Trump’s Firing of James Comey Is an Attack on American Democracy
NY Times: Trump Warns Comey and Says He May Cancel Press Briefings (Video)
NY Times: The Events That Led Up to Comey’s Firing,
and How the White House’s Story Changed

NY Times: The Opinion Pages | The Trump-Russia Nexus
New Yorker: In Trump, Echoes of Nixon’s Constitutional Crisis

Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre - By Jonathan Schell (November 12, 1973)
"Sixteen months ago, five men (in case anyone hasn’t heard) were caught in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee carrying wiretapping equipment. Whom could they have been working for? The country awaited evidence. In one man’s pocket were consecutively numbered hundred-dollar bills that were soon traced to the Committee to Re-elect the President. In another man’s pockets was a notebook that contained the entry 'W.House.' One of the men turned out to be the chief of security for the Committee. It became known that a Committee counsel had planned their action. Could it have been the Committee to Re-elect the President that the men were working for? The President said he thought not. The F.B.I. thought not. The Criminal Division of the Justice Department thought not. And the public thought not. Six months passed. The men were indicted and convicted. ..."
New Yorker