In an unexpected and controversial move, President Donald J. Trump fired director of the FBI James B. Comey, on May 9. Comey was in the midst of an FBI investigation as to whether or not there had been Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. There have been several speculations as to the reason why Trump fired Comey; the Democratic Party claims it was due to Comey’s ongoing investigation on the Russians being associated with Trump’s election campaign. Meanwhile, Republicans argue that Comey gave inaccurate information about Hillary Clinton’s email case during a congressional hearing the week before he got fired. However, according to Comey’s own records Trump sought to, Trump asked Comey to suspend a federal investigation into the administration’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Finn, back in February.
“There are real controversies surrounding Trump’s decision to fire the former FBI director,” said Jeffrey Park (12), MUN member. “Yet considering the fact that Trump’s rationale for the decision was unclear and the moves he has been making since his inauguration in January have shown to be nepotistic and at many times unwarranted, it also could have been expected.”
Confusion surrounded the decision as during the campaign, Trump praised the FBI director for reopening the investigation on Clinton’s case. In a letter to the director, the President directly stated that while he appreciates the fact that Comey informed Trump that he is not being investigated several times, he still concurs with the judgment that Comey is not qualified to continue to lead the Bureau. Comey was three and a half years into his ten-year term of serving as the director of the FBI.
“It is questionable as to why such decision was made so abruptly,” said Yoon Lim (10), MUN club member. “Although such allegations may not be true, it is only natural for one to consider Trump’s personal gains through the firing of Comey; the only one that is apparent as of now is that the investigation of Russian ties to Trump’s campaign may be suspended, at least temporarily.”
Comey had made two instrumental decisions regarding Clinton’s email case; one in July of 2016 that the case should be closed without prosecution, and another in that the inquiry of the case has been reopened due to new findings in November, 11 days before the election. Subsequent to her defeat, Clinton claimed that Comey’s decision to begin the investigation once again was a contributing factor to her loss of the election. Meanwhile, Comey stated that he would make the same decision if he were have to go back.
“Trump’s decision was definitely imprudent and needed more explanation,” Jeffrey said. “While it is true that Comey’s career as the FBI’s director has been arguably controversial and misguided, such should not be sufficient reasons for Trump to make such a sudden decision on an important figure of his leadership personnel.”
While Democrats immediately began making connections between the decision and Comey’s investigations on alleged Russian intervention on the presidential election, Republicans joined in on their dissatisfaction of the decision. Specifically, according to The Guardian, many Republicans have publically questioned why Trump had to make such a rash decision, and what the Republican party stands to lose as a result.