President Trump has fired yet another government official. This time it was the director of the FBI, James Comey.
The official reason for the termination is unclear, which isnot out of character for Trump’s administration. The origins of the investigation into Comey vary from each account.
According to Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Vice President Mike Pence, when questioned, the investigation was initiated by the Department of Justice and was independent of the White House. They concluded that Comey mishandled the Clinton investigation and was not accurately doing his job.
The White House then claimed that it was only after Rod Rosenstein gave the DOJ’s recommendation that Trump decided to dismiss Comey.
Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said that although the president had been considering firing Comey for several months, it was the findings of the DOJ investigation that made him take action.
Even later, Trump claimed he would have fired Comey with or without the DOJ’s recommendation, as he believed there was never going to be a good time to do so.
There is some speculation that Trump ordered the investigation in order to provide a reason for dismissing Comey.
The real question is what reasons did Trump have for firing Comey regardless of a recommendation?
On March 20, 2017, Comey confirmed that the FBI was in the middle of an investigation into a possible Russian connection to the Trump campaign during the U.S. presidential elections.
Although Trump has called the Russian-Trump connections fake news, the termination of Comey in the middle of said investigation does bring doubt to Trump’s actions.
The doubt grows upon learning that Trump and Comey had a private meeting earlier this year, in which the president allegedly asked Comey for his loyalty to him. Comey promised honesty, not loyalty.
“Loyal” is not only an odd word to use, but it should also be concerning to everyone, regardless of party affiliation. The president was purportedly asking the director to stand behind him, not a party, regardless of any decision he were to make in the future.
Trump has proven to be unexpected and volatile in his decisions in the past, and there is no indication that will change. What other moves is the president planning that he would need high ranking officials to support him in?
The FBI is a department that stands to be truthful and unbiased in its investigations. It is not meant to be “loyal” to any one person or party, but rather stands to keep everyone in check.
This is not the first time a government official has been terminated after looking into Russia-Trump ties. Sally Yates, former U.S. deputy attorney general, was dismissed shortly after initiating an investigation into the potential of Russia blackmailing White House officials.
Of course, Yates was also known for standing against Trump’s travel ban, and this is the official reason for her termination.
There is a potential pattern of the administration dismissing any major opposing opinions.
It’s as if the president is saying, “stand with me or do not stand up at all.” In other words, unless you agree with the president, you cannot accurately do your job in the government, and you will be silenced and dismissed.
Regardless of which party you align yourself with, here are some questions to consider:
What do these incidents say about the president’s motives?
At times, it appears as if Trump is attempting to surround himself with only people that agree with him and boost his ego. It could be argued that this is a subtle way to gain more power, and the more he has, the harder it will be to take it away from him.
Had Trump always intended on firing Comey, or did he make the choice after the meeting in which he was denied loyalty? The latter is arguable.
Was Yates fired for opposing the ban or for probing into Russian ties to the White House? Both are plausible.
Is anyone who investigates Russian ties at risk of losing their job? Firing Comey leaves one wondering.
Is there actually something to the Russian intervention rumors? Definitely.
Trump’s actions, if continued, could create enough intimidation to stop others from speaking against him.
The president is leaning toward some worrisome choices. Trump continually displays traits commonly found in tyrants and dictators. He stretches the boundaries of power and never faces consequences.
Trump should not be able to dismiss anyone who opposes him and not be reprimanded. The longer he is able to get away with such actions, the more of them he will make.
If no one can or is willing to stop you, then why should you stop, right?
Saya is a sophomore political science and psychology double major.