These posts recognized now former FBI Director James Comey as Person of the Year in 2016.
His impact was framed on these two dates:
• July 5 2016- Mr. Comey gave a press conference at which he announced that he was declining to recommend that Hillary Clinton be indicted for the email scandal although he said that Mrs. Clinton and her staff had been “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
• October 28 2016- Mr. Comey sent a letter to Congress announcing that the FBI had discovered emails on disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop that might be relevant and that the investigation of Mrs. Clinton was reopened.
We concluded that in July Director Comey handed Mrs. Clinton the election and in October he took it away.
Democrats with reason cried that Mr. Comey cost them the election. Senator Chuck Schumer said of Mr. Comey, “I do not have confidence in him any longer.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared, “Maybe he’s not in the right job.”
Last week President Trump fired James Comey citing his over-involvement in the politics around the investigation of the email scandal.
That is not plausible to us since: within a short time after the firing, Mr. Trump told NBC that Mr. Comey’s investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election did influence his decision to fire the Director
Although we have not always agreed with Mr. Comey, we have felt that he went about his job honestly
Broadly speaking, there seem to be two possible sub-motives to Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Comey.
Sub-motive 1 – The President was concerned that Mr. Comey would find proof of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
Sub-motive 2 – The President was impatient with an investigation in which insignificant connections to Russia were being used to keep alive a story about treasonous interactions with the Russians that never took place.
These posts lean to Sub-motive 2.
Either way, President Trump’s termination of James Comey is a huge unforced error because the investigation will continue.
However, unless more developments occur, we do not see Mr. Trump’s dismissal of Mr. Comey as similar to aspects of the Watergate scandal four decades ago. In October of 1973 President Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox and then was faced with the resignation of the Attorney General and another Justice Department official. History calls this the Saturday Night Massacre. It was followed by Mr. Nixon’s resignation ten months later.
We don’t believe history will repeat. As always we could be wrong.
A final note. Although we have not always agreed with Mr. Comey, we have felt that he went about his job honestly. He disagreed with President Bush on warrantless surveillance and with Mr. Obama on the “Ferguson Effect” – indicating how police, under attack, were inhibited in enforcing the law. Mr. Comey also probed the connection between Islamic terrorists and the San Bernardino killers of 2015 when the political narrative was going the other way. Mr Trump then is the third president with whom James Comey has contended while doing his job.
We wish him well.