Editorial

EDITORIAL: Is FBI Director’s Firing Shades of Nixon’s ‘Saturday Night Massacre?’

FBI Director James Comey, responsible for getting to the bottom of what really occurred during the recent presidency election and whether President Donald Trump and/or members of his administration may have had their hands in counter intelligence espionage, if Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the campaign, has just been fired by the president — by the man who is himself under investigation.

The Trump camp says Comey was fired because of how he handled the Hillary Clinton email probe. If so, what took so long? On the other hand, could the sudden firing, as some like Sen. Elizabeth Warren assert, have nothing to do with Clinton and everything about Russia? Has the water reached the boiling point and become so close to bubbling over that firing Comey, a man once praised by the president, became the White House’s only recourse?

Comey made mistakes in handling the FBI investigations, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who recommended that Trump remove the director from his post. But some say Comey’s downfall came because he had the gumption to challenge the president, publicly refuting Trump’s continued assertions that the Russian story had no merit and was merely the concoction of Democratic spin or “fake news.”

It’s unclear what will happen next and whether we will ever get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Still, we call on all members of Congress, particularly members of the Republican Party who currently control both the House and the Senate, to protect the sanctity of the American political process as they have taken an oath to do and let the chips fall where they will.

We hope we’re not seeing a nuanced version of the “Saturday Night Massacre” when President Richard Nixon, in October 1973, facing investigation for his role in the Watergate scandal, ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor handling the case, rather than cooperate with him, as firing two attorney generals. Trump has already fired acting attorney general Sally Yates after she ordered Justice Department lawyers to disobey his order shutting down U.S. borders to refugees worldwide and travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has since resigned. HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s top adviser Shermichael Singleton recently got the pink slip — without Carson’s knowledge, for criticizing Trump during his campaign. National Security Council Director Craig Deare was also kicked out recently for making fun of the president behind his back. Others have been quietly dismissed or resigned, like the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper.

Trump promised to drain the swamp in Washington. But with at least 19 members of his team already gone after just 109 days in office, it’s more like an exodus of former supporters. When will the bloodletting end? Can Americans remain confident that the ongoing investigation will be handled with objectivity rather than partisan-led coercion? And when we next pledge allegiance should we direct our words to Mr. Trump or to our country, the United States of America?

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