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

he admitted on national television that he fired comey becuase of the russia investigation. trump lets another of his disciples down. there's a special prosecuter becuase there's a possiblilty of a crime. this isn't rocket science. whatever you might think, the investigation isn't going to be stopped and we're all going to find out one way or the other.

Anonymous

if he fired comey to avoid prosecution, it wasn't legal.

Never Trump Lon...

There has only ever been ONE FBI Director removed from office, and that was for cause. He was being investigated for using dept funds to improve his house. The 10 year term of office is intended to insulate the Director from political influence, unlike the NSA and CIA who are always replaced by new presidents. BUT the main point is, Comey's removal was part of a pattern which constitutes Obstruction of Justice. The known criteria for criminal obstruction is not limited to ordering people, but "consist of any attempt to HINDER the discovery, apprehension, conviction or punishment of anyone who has committed a crime" excerpt from the 2nd answer in the link below. The criteria seems to be whether there was an attempt to "influence" not some high bar of directly ordering.

These circumstances are slam-dunk clear to me, but right wing MoCs will surely not see it through their partisan glasses.
>Jan 27th, djt invites Comey to dinner alone and repeatedly asks for his pledge of "loyalty."
>Feb 14th, while Comey is at the WH, djt clears the Oval Office and asks "I hope you can let this (Flynn investigation) go
>Mar 30th, djt calls Comey and asks if he can "lift the cloud" of the Russia investigation.
>Apr 11th, djt calls Comey to ask him to "get the fact out" that he personally wasn't under investigation at the time.
>May 9th, fires Comey.
>May 10th djt tells Kislyak that "Comey was a real nut job" and "I was under tremendous pressure because of Russia. That is taken off."
>May 11th, djt tells Lester Holt, NBC, that he was going to fire Comey anyway to get rid of the Russia "made-up story."

Anonymous was d...

LOL. What a joke of a post and a complete disregard for law over click baiting. What grave abuse of power was there to legally fire the director of the FBI? Was it legal? If so, then it was not a grave abuse of power. You repeat an media report as fact that Comey requested additional funding, but this was specifically denied by the acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Where he state funding requests go to congress. What rule of law was threatened? Be specific with statute was violated. (Hint: none). Does the ACLU believe investigations stop with the firing of the FBI Director? Apparently he was the only agent available at the time. Why would there be a special prosecutor if there is no evidence of a crime? And would not they also be subject to being fired by the President since the DOJ is part of the executive branch? I am pretty sure that the Senate Intelligence committee is involved with sniffing out the Russians (under you bed). I hope this was just to drive donations, because you analysis otherwise is awful.

Anonymous

He fired three people over Russian connection, one US attorney, an acting AG and now a FBI head. What part of high crime you don't understand.

Anonymous

FYI the only other president to fire the person investigating him? Nixon. Good luck with that whole "not an abuse of power " defense. Sure worked for Nixon.

Anonymous

FYI the only other president to fire the person investigating him? Nixon. Good luck with that whole "not an abuse of power " defense. Sure worked for Nixon.

Anonymous

The firing could potentially be classified as obstruction of justice. Several federal statutes seek to broadly classify any shady behavior designed to thwart governmental proceedings as illegal. Check out 18 U.S. Code § 1512(c)(2): "Whoever corruptly ... obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both." Is that specific enough for you? Firing the man in charge of the governmental body investigating you could be construed as an attempt to corruptly impede an official proceeding, although proving corrupt intent could be difficult in practice.

The defendant would have to prove that the conduct consisted "solely of lawful conduct" and that the defendant’s "sole intention" was to encourage, induce, or cause the other person to testify truthfully. Federal case law exists stating that a "lawful action" can still be deemed unlawful based on the underlying motives. While it might be difficult to prove, a good prosecutor could make the case that a blend of lawful and unlawful motives was at play, and therefore the actions were not "solely" lawful, negating the defense.

Ole_Jess

There is a lot of evidence that Trump's election team and perhaps Trump himself collaborated with an enemy nation (Russia) to change the result of the election. Has this been proven yet? No. That's why we need an investigation. The head of the House investigation had to recuse himself when it was found that he was working with the President to undermine the investigation. NOW, another Republican is leading that non-effort. The Senate inquiry seems a bit more promising with respect to determining what happened but they are also led by a Republican and it is doubtful that they will provide the kind of in-depth investigation that is necessary. You ask what would be the charge? The charge is TREASON against the United States. We need a full, independent investigation even more now that Trump has admitted giving sensitive security information recently to the Russians.

Never Trump Lon...

There has only ever been ONE FBI Director removed from office, and that was for cause. He was being investigated for using dept funds to improve his house. The 10 year term of office is intended to insulate the Director from political influence, unlike the NSA and CIA who are always replaced by new presidents. BUT the main point is, Comey's removal was part of a pattern which constitutes Obstruction of Justice. The known criteria for criminal obstruction is not limited to ordering people, but "consist of any attempt to HINDER the discovery, apprehension, conviction or punishment of anyone who has committed a crime" excerpt from the 2nd answer in the link below. The criteria seems to be whether there was an attempt to "influence" not some high bar of directly ordering.

These circumstances are slam-dunk clear to me, but right wing MoCs will surely not see it through their partisan glasses.
>Jan 27th, djt invites Comey to dinner alone and repeatedly asks for his pledge of "loyalty."
>Feb 14th, while Comey is at the WH, djt clears the Oval Office and asks "I hope you can let this (Flynn investigation) go
>Mar 30th, djt calls Comey and asks if he can "lift the cloud" of the Russia investigation.
>Apr 11th, djt calls Comey to ask him to "get the fact out" that he personally wasn't under investigation at the time.
>May 9th, fires Comey.
>May 10th djt tells Kislyak that "Comey was a real nut job" and "I was under tremendous pressure because of Russia. That is taken off."
>May 11th, djt tells Lester Holt, NBC, that he was going to fire Comey anyway to get rid of the Russia "made-up story."

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