Comey to Senate: Trump Fired Me to End Flynn Investigation
Former F.B.I. Director James Comey captivated the country with his riveting testimony before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. In Comey's opening statement he first explained how he learned via media reports of his firing. He then described his confusion with the firing considering the numerous conversations he had with Donald Trump, with Trump repeatedly expressing gratitude for a job well done.
Before ending his opening statement and fielding questions from senators, Comey paid tribute to the work ethic and character of his former colleagues at the F.B.I. Since his departure was unexpected, Comey was never able to formally bid his colleagues farewell. Thus, Comey took this opportunity to speak directly to them, stating,
"I am so sorry that I didn't get the chance to say good-bye to you properly. It has been the honor of my life to serve beside you. To be a part of the F.B.I. family and I will miss it for the rest of my life. Thank you for standing watch. Thank you for doing so much good for this country. Do that good as long as [y]ou can."
Comey was asked by ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Dianne Feinstein (D - CA), "Do you believe the Russia investigation played a role [in your firing]?" Comey was crystal clear in his reply, answering, "Yes, I take the President at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. Something about the way I was conducting it, the President felt created pressure on him that he wanted to relieve." In answering a similarly worded question from another member of the Intelligence Committee, Comey remarked, "I was fired because of something about the way I was conducting the Russia investigation was in someway putting pressure on him in someway irritating him. And he decided to fire me because of that." Comey went on to say even more plainly...
"I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in someway to change, or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal."
This idea of Trump firing Comey with the explicit intention of thwarting an active investigation into him should resonate with any person who values justice and separation of powers. For the president – or any member of the president's cabinet – to terminate the employment of an intelligence official or individual responsible for investigating matters related to the president, represents an obstruction of justice, so long as that termination was intended to prevent the furtherance of the investigation. As Trump admitted on national television during an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, his intention was to divert the Russia investigation, because he viewed it as "fake news."
Despite Trump's weekly activities containing all of the Nixonian hallmarks of obstruction, the Republican controlled Congress is unlikely to impeach a president from their party. As a result, it appears no amount of blatant corruption will persuade Republican Congressman to hold the White House accountable for any amount of wrongdoing.
Obstruction of justice, thy name is Donald John Trump. Complicity, thy name is Republican Party.