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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2344

President Trump fires FBI chief who is probing his Russian Ties

By Daya Gamage – Asian Tribune US National Correspondent
Washington, D.C. 10 May (Asiantribune.com):

President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey who has been entrusted by his Bureau, an independent agency of the federal government, to investigate the Trump presidential election campaign ties to Russia which is widely believed tilted the election in his favor defeating the Democratic candidate former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Political observers here bring a parallel to what happened in 1973 when President Richard Nixon fired the Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox who was entrusted with the investigation of the break-in at Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate building during the 1972 presidential election and the Nixon White House cover-up which brought his presidency to an abrupt end when he was forced to resign even before the presentation of the impeachment resolution in US Congress.

On the evening of Saturday October 20, 1973, Federal Judge John Sirica sat in front of his television set watching FBI agents seal off the office of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had just been fired at the command of the Nixon White House. The scene reminded him of a banana republic coup. “What the hell is this crowd doing?” he asked.

Political observers opine that it’s far too early to say whether President Donald Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey will have the same dire consequences for his political future as Richard Nixon’s dismissal of Cox did for his. But not since that “Saturday Night Massacre” more than 40 years ago has a sitting president dared to fire an official in the middle of investigating potential misconduct by his own campaign. The risks of doing so are enormous.

The unexpected development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency.

The Asian Tribune readers remember, in Sri Lanka, the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s machination to dismiss the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court sealed his presidency when he unexpectedly lost the presidency in February 2015.

But many in Washington, including veteran F.B.I. officers, saw a carefully choreographed effort by the president to create a pretense for a takedown of the president’s F.B.I. tormentor.

Mr. Trump in his letter to Mr. Comey explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.

As the national media in the United States put it, Mr. Comey represented an independent and unpredictable director with enormous power to disrupt the Trump administration.

The New York Times cites Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Comey marks the president’s latest law enforcement purge.

In early February, Mr. Trump fired Sally Yates, a 27-year veteran in the Department of Justice who was serving as acting attorney general for opposing Mr. Trump’s immigration ban. In March, he fired Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan who had the jurisdiction in the New York State to probe Trump transactions. But the president’s firing of Mr. Comey was far more consequential.

Mr. Trump has been furious with news stories about his campaign’s ties to Russia. The White House has been critical of the leaks at the heart of those stories and tried unsuccessfully to enlist Mr. Comey in an effort to rebut the stories.

- Asian Tribune -

President Trump fires FBI chief who is probing his Russian Ties
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