Last week President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for what he says ostensibly was for the mishandling of high profile investigations. The investigations cited by Trump were Hillary Clinton’s private email server investigation and the current investigation into illicit ties between Trump himself and Russia. Trump, in part at least, seems to have been hoping the political discord by Democrats over Comey would help make his firing more palatable to legislators and the public. After all, Hillary Clinton herself blames Comey for her election loss to Trump—a view there is some justification for. Respected pollster Nate Silver wrote earlier this month that even with all of her unforced campaign errors, “Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28.”
Immediately after the firing became public, Trump was greeted with fierce and renewed calls for a special prosecutor. In what he seemed to be hoping would be a politics-as-usual response immediately became one of the biggest storms to hit the presidency in decades. Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro during a recent interview that he was very “surprised” by the negative reaction over the firing. For him to be unaware of how controversial his firing of Comey would look defies all imagination.
Not only was Comey heading an investigation tied to Trump, which smacks of Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox in the Watergate affair, but Comey was also the third person fired by Trump who happened to be responsible for investigations tied to the president. Previously this year Trump sacked acting Attorney General Sally Yates and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
It is beyond difficult to accept the president at his word. Trump has repeatedly squandered his credibility, not only in regards to major issues like Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia, but even over petty ones like inauguration crowd size. Now, as this article is being written, news has broken Trump leaked sensitive classified information to the Russians at a White House meeting the day following his firing of Comey. It remains to be seen how accurate the report is, but, however, at this early stage it shows a point. That point is Trump’s credibility is called into question in ways that are not normal for a president on a weekly and at times a daily basis.
With the lack of trust, it is absolutely imperative that a special prosecutor be introduced. A special prosecutor is like an “errant buzz saw ricocheting indiscriminately within the White House” as was written on this blog in March. Its scope and scale make it a very powerful investigative tool—a tool invented for the exact reason it is being called for now—to keep a president from corrupting an investigation related to them.
The latest poll from NBC/Wall Street Journal shows an incredible 78 percent of the American public would prefer President Trump be investigated by an independent prosecutor or commission as opposed to an investigation done by other means.
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