We’re Demanding Records on Comey’s Dismissal. Here’s Why.

The ACLU today submitted a request to the Department of Justice and the FBI asking for the release of all documents relating to President Donald Trump’s decision to remove FBI Director James Comey from office. The cloud of uncertainty swirling over Comey’s dismissal, along with indications that the president may have gravely abused his power, demands a public accounting.

DEMAND A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR ON RUSSIA

At the time of his dismissal, FBI Director Comey was responsible for overseeing an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election and possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. According to initial White House statements — by most accounts hastily assembled with little coordination — the president dismissed Comey on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The two, we learned, had prepared a pair of memoranda asserting that Comey had mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and had violated Department of Justice policies when he publicly announced the results of that investigation. (This, despite the fact that both Sessions and Trump had previously lauded Comey’s handling of that investigation.)

Subsequent reports indicate that the president had already decided to fire Comey — among other reasons, for being insufficiently loyal to the president — and that he sought the help of Sessions and Rosenstein to justify his decision. Several days after the dismissal, the president said in an interview that he fired Comey because “he’s a showboat, he’s a grandstander.” President Trump also stated that he had the Russia investigation in mind when he fired Mr. Comey, and media accounts indicate that Mr. Comey had requested additional resources for the FBI’s investigation in the days before he was dismissed. In other words, the White House’s explanations for firing Comey shifted significantly over a matter of days, and the public doesn’t know the actual basis for the decision.

As the nation’s predominant law enforcement agency, the FBI’s impact on American justice can’t be overstated. Our history offers important lessons into why the FBI director role needs to be insulated from political interference. In response to both Watergate and a litany of abuses wrought by J. Edgar Hoover’s five-decade tenure as FBI director, Congress established a 10-year term meant to both check the director’s power and insulate the position from party politics. The FBI plays a central role in defending the rule of law, conducting domestic law enforcement investigations, and protecting against civil rights and civil liberties violations. As a result, the agency has tremendous power to affect the lives of ordinary people — for good or ill. Its use of those powers should not be affected by political interests.

The president’s actions and shifting justifications threaten the rule of law. As both Trump and his deputy press secretary suggested, by firing Mr. Comey, Trump sought to hasten an end to the FBI’s ongoing investigation into his own campaign. But the rule of law requires that investigators and prosecutors have the independence to follow the facts wherever they lead — even if they lead to the president’s door. It is a firmly rooted tradition in our democracy that the president does not interfere with individual criminal investigations — let alone those that implicate the president’s own interests or the interests of his family, friends, or political associates.

To intervene in such an investigation, or to obstruct its progress, threatens to place the president above the law. It would subvert our system of justice, which requires the FBI and Department of Justice to hold even the most powerful to account. For these reasons, the ACLU has called for the appointment of a special prosecutor and the establishment of a select committee to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian interference. We have also called for the acting FBI director to permanently lead the Russia investigation. At this stage, this is the best way to ensure the investigation’s independence.

Meanwhile, we cannot afford to be kept in the dark on the president’s actual reasons for firing the FBI director.

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Anonymous

I'll tell you why. He's hiding the truth how he got into office in the first place and hiding his tax records because he was avoiding his fare share in tax, s. He's hiding his tax fraud and does not want to get caught

Anthony Romero

Hi. Everybody. My butthole is sore from getting it in the rear. I'm a gay-gay.

Anonymous

EXACTLY!

hopiblue

What is clear is the Russian Mafia is embedded in the trump administration. That is a lot more than collusion. You will need to do a lot more.

Anonymous

It is absolutely clear that there is a world wide agenda hidden somewhere in plain sight.

Anonymous

LOL. What a joke of a post. How is firing the FBI Director a grave abuse of his power? Is it legal? If yes, then it follows it cannot be a grave abuse of power. "media accounts indicate that Mr. Comey had requested additional resources for the FBI’s investigation in the days before he was dismissed". So the word of the acting FBI director Andrew McCabe when asked this during the Senate committee hearing directly contradicts this statement; you go with the media's account. When did Comey appear before the Senate to request additional funding? Why would there need to be a special prosecutor absent a crime? What would stop the special prosecutor from being fired since they would also be subject to the DOJ and POTUS? What rule of law was broken by firing Comey (please provide statute)? Does the ACLU truly believe investigations are only led by the Director of the FBI and not other agents such that the firing of the Director will stop an investigation? Was this merely click bait designed to enhance you endowment? Because the analysis is severely lacking.

Anonymous

So the actual fact that you stated "it's my party and I'll do what I want when I want" is so charming. (For a 3 year old) This is about accountability and not someone's ego or TV ratings. Just remember one thing about this guy, if you don't play by his unwritten rules you will be a scapegoat. Imagine having the power to fire the cop that was about to bag you. BTW you sound just like is sock puppet at the podium.

Anonymous

The point of a special prosecutor would be to lead the investigation as an independent entity. You would appoint a special prosecutor if there was concern about the impact of personal and political interference. A special prosecutor in this types of case is brought on before any determination is made about whether a crime has been committed and is part of the investigative body - we don't know that a crime is present or absent yet, though the FBI believes there is enough cause for suspicion to build an ongoing investigation. A special prosecutor would have to be called for by the Attorney General (acting on behalf of the DOJ) or the Legislature (acting on behalf of the people).

I don't know that anything would stop a special prosecutor from being fired. Nixon fired a special prosecutor looking into Watergate. I think it's just a REALLY bad look and considered almost an admission of guilt because the fact a special prosecutor was called upon signifies that this investigation is very important to the DOJ and/or the American people.

There was no rule of law necessarily broken simply by firing Comey. Firing an FBI director is highly irregular, but within the president's power. The reason why the ACLU and others are calling for a special prosecutor is because the question whether or not this was a legally justifiable exercise of his power. An abuse of power is often less about committing an actual criminal act. With Comey, for example, the abuse of power allegations are being made by people who believe Trump only fired Comey to slow or halt the Russia investigation which would be an obstruction of justice and a clear power abuse. The evidence they use to back this claim comes mostly from the Trump administration and Trump's own conflicting narratives. Last week, Trump told Lester Holt it had been his decision alone to fire Comey which contradicted with previous White House statements about the decision. This confusion along with the claim that the firing was about the handling of the Clinton Email case - a complete reversal of position by the administration which, to some, seems suspicious - has lead many people to question the motives of the White House in taking such unorthodox action.

Basically, the rule of law violation they are arguing claims that Trump knowingly interfered with officers of the law with the intention of disrupting or impeding their duties in the pursuit of an investigation.

Firing Comey does not mean the investigation will be closed as a product of his firing. The concern has more to do with the power of the FBI director to allocate resources and this prioritize cases. An investigation of this magnitude and nuance requires a significant amount of resources to remain in operation, as it must have some resolution - we must either be extremely satisfied there WAS collusion to indict/prosecute or extremely satisfied there WAS NOT to close.

Those who fear Comey's firing was politically motivated are also afraid that Trump's appointment will be chosen from amongst his loyal political allies. The FBI director has been given a special 10yr appointment term in an effort to keep them less obliged to political interests. The fear is that if a Trump loyalist is appointed, they will not allocate the appropriate resources to a Trump investigation.

And thus the call for an independent special prosecutor.

Anonymous

The reason McCabe no longer needs extra funding or resources is because now, the feds are pissed and they don't mind working ot and off the clock. McCabe saw what happened to the other guy who was playing straight. You need to pull your head out of your ass.

Anonymous

It is called "Obstruction of Justice" This is what is wrong here. Legal or not legal, what is he hiding?

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