Current Events, Just musing

Comey was fired for one reason (and Russia wasn’t it)

Trump and Comey

So, in less than 24 hours, social media has begun the tandem eruption and meltdown at the news that President Trump sent a letter of termination to James Comey, Director of the FBI. The first thing I did at hearing this was to follow the paper trail to see why this happened and how many people weighed into this decision. While the overwhelming number of Leftists (who, until yesterday, many wanted Comey’s head on a pike), led by the self-appointed tribal leader, Chuck-U Schumer, went all-in on the Russian conspiracy explanation, I took time to read the letter sent by the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein. Before I get to the germane segments, which clearly lay out what many of us have believed since the July 2016 press release given by Comey regarding the illegal e-mail server used by Hillary Clinton, we need to address why this did not happen sooner.

Several talking heads and democrat leaders have bemoaned the timing of the firing, asking why Trump didn’t take action back in January? It’s worth mentioning, the Senate did not confirm Rod Rosenstein to the position of Deputy Attorney General until April 25, 2017 by a vote of 94-6. In today’s hyper-partisan climate, that vote is worth noting. As the number two man at the Department of Justice, it is also important to note that the FBI Director reports to this position. Thus, Rosenstein become Comey’s boss on April 25th.

With all of the turmoil surrounding the FBI’s handling of the Clinton private e-mail server, it was Rosenstein’s job to determine whether or not James Comey was fit to retain his position. It only took 10 working days from his confirmation date for Rosenstein to present his determination to his boss, Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, on Comey’s viability to lead the FBI. The memo had the following subject: Restoring public confidence in the FBI.

That one document, which is shorter than what I am laying out here, contains all the information anyone within the drive-by media (and everyone else for that matter) needs to understand the facts and report on the circumstances on why Comey was fired. But, what am I thinking? There are pre-determined narratives at work and far too many refuse to let facts get in the way of a good story.

Contrary to the tin-hat donning conspiracy theorists out there, the firing of James Comey had nothing to do with the on-going Russian collusion investigation, or any other Russian-themed investigation. In fact, the FBI’s investigation is just one of three different, concurrent investigations. The other two are happening in the House and in the Senate. Replacing the Director of the FBI does nothing to prevent the ongoing work being performed by the agents working for the Bureau. The firing of James Comey does nothing to prevent the House or the Senate from calling him to testify or continuing their own work. The idea President Trump decided to fire James Comey to stop the investigation requires a firm belief in unicorns and flying pigs.

A side-note: the investigation over Russian-Trump collusion (separate from Russian hacking or meddling) has been going on quietly for nearly a year now and, thus far, even Trump’s most determined opponents have had to admit there has been no evidence discovered to prove Trump was actively working with Russian agents to steal the election. The other investigations are looking into alleged hacking of systems and release of information by Russian actors trying to influence the election. None of these have been stopped as a result of the firing of James Comey. So, if you are among those who believe wholeheartedly President Trump actively worked with the Russians to steal the election away from Hillary Clinton, rest easy knowing those investigations are still underway.

Now that I have addressed the Left, let me move to those on the Right who think the firing of Comey was due to him not going after Hillary Clinton. Sorry, but that is not the reason, either. As much as many hoped the FBI would have brought formal charges against then candidate Clinton, his decision not to is not why he received his walking papers.

The memo produced by Deputy Director Rosenstein explains both succinctly and elegantly that FBI Director Comey did not treat Hillary Clinton properly or fairly during the called press conference on July 5, 2016. Yes, you heard me correctly. James Comey was fired by President Trump, at the recommendation of both the Deputy AG and the Attorney General of the United States, because he did not treat Hillary Clinton fairly.

Though I would strongly advise anyone to read the full text of Deputy AG Rosenstein’s memo, here are the relevant paragraphs, which reveal why Comey was fired:

The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.

As stated, FBI Director James Comey chose to be both investigator AND prosecutor in the Hillary Clinton private email server case. He did not follow the longstanding protocol that exists between the FBI and the Justice Department. But, he did more than just put himself in (then) AG Loretta Lynch’s role, he went on to list all of the reasons Clinton broke the law during a called public press conference:

Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.

Many, me included, heard that “closing argument” on July 5 and found ourselves hopeful that the untouchable Hillary Clinton was about to be charged. The list was thorough and detailed. All of the transgressions were listed. The statues broken. The careless and irresponsible handling of national secrets. But, in the final paragraph, Comey pulled a 180 and made the assertion that he could find no “intent” to do wrong, something that does not need to be present and is not a requirement for breaking our intelligence laws. He then took on the role of prosecutor and spoke on behalf of everyone in the Justice Department, declaring, “…our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

James Comey’s egregious error in judgment is what led to his firing. He should have never held a public press conference. He should have made his recommendations as an investigator to the Justice Department and let them determine whether or not a case could be made to prosecute Hillary Clinton. He interjected a legal concept of “intent,” which does not exist in our intelligence laws and statutes — acting a bit like Chief Justice Roberts who helped to fix the Affordable Care Act by rewriting a portion of the bill ¹.

What we must decide is whether or not the memo of Deputy AG Rosenstein accurately describes the actions taken by FBI Director Comey. Did he overstep his role? Did he mistreat Hillary Clinton as a result? Did he subvert the traditions of the FBI? Did he provide the textbook example of what agents and prosecutors are not supposed to do? Before you jump into the fray, parroting the narratives being shouted by DNC leaders and members of the mainstream media, take a moment to read the memo and understand the facts of the case rather than invented machinations of political elites.


¹ – In case you are puzzled by the comparison, Congress makes/writes the law and the Justices’ role is to determine Constitutionality. By making corrections, Chief Justice Roberts was doing the job of the Legislature, thereby legislating from the bench. He should have pointed out the problem with the language, voted against the ACA and let Congress fix the wording. Instead, he decided to play both roles, ignoring the checks and balances inherent in our Constitution.

 

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