Question of the Day: Comey Firing a Mistake?

 

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In his “60 Minutes” interview Sunday, Steve Bannon described James Comey’s firing as “the biggest mistake in modern political history.” The Question of the Day: Was Trump right or wrong to fire his former FBI Director?

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There are 24 comments.

  1. Member

    He was right to do it. There were issues with the way he did it and statements he made after, but Comey had already demonstrated that he was more political than J. Edgar Hoover (Is that possible?) and was playing fast and loose with his role.

    • #1
    • September 13, 2017 at 5:41 am
    • 11 likes
  2. Coolidge

    Legally right. Politically and strategically wrong.

    • #2
    • September 13, 2017 at 5:41 am
    • 7 likes
  3. Member

    Trump was right. And, recent facts coming to light have provided the substantiation for this action.

    Comey and Clinton: Rigged from Beginning

    • #3
    • September 13, 2017 at 5:42 am
    • 8 likes
  4. Member

    I have no idea what machinations roll about in Bannon’s head. But Comey needed to go. Trump asked him numerous times if the investigation was involving the President and Comey said no…in private…but wouldn’t publicly acknowledge that fact. He works at the pleasure of the President. He was way too much of a publicity hound for that position. Trump maintained the investigation would proceed without Comey, as it has, and than he fired him. The Democrats hated Comey until they thought they could use him against Trump. Then, all the sudden he was their hero. I do not understand why Sessions hasn’t indicted Comey yet for leaking classified info. But that may yet happen.

    • #4
    • September 13, 2017 at 6:08 am
    • 4 likes
  5. Coolidge

    I don’t remember the last time I heard a girly-man speak at the nation, except that it was when Comey breathlessly said “Hillary Clinton did wrong…but it’s ok.” He had to go. No question about it. I just wish it had happened sooner.

    PS – We don’t want to hear about Comey anymore!

    • #5
    • September 13, 2017 at 6:18 am
    • 4 likes
  6. Member

    The only mistake was in timing. Comey should have been fired on Trump’s first day in office.

    • #6
    • September 13, 2017 at 6:29 am
    • 14 likes
  7. Coolidge

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):
    Legally right. Politically and strategically wrong.

    I agree. IF he had planned to get rid of the guy, he should have done it early in his admin. (if not day 1, then at during the first few weeks) He could then legitimately claim that he had lost confidence in the director during the coarse of events of 2016. Really he should have gone in with a list of civil servants who needed to resign. (he was sworn in on Friday, he should have handed out the lists on his way back from the ceremony. “Dear Mr Xyz. Your letter of resignation is required to be on the desk of your supervisor by Monday morning 10 AM. Thank you for your service.”) The media could have chewed on the swamp draining over the weekend rather than attendance records.

    After the appointment he should also have instantly fired Robert Mueller and Rod Robenstein. Mueller because of his close personal relationship with James Comey, is disqualifying by the “Ethics in Government Act(1978)”. Rod Robenstein, because he made the rash decision to appoint someone who was disqualified for the position. At least I hope it was a rash decision, James Comey has since stated that he leaked in order to spark an Independent Counsel, whom he had hoped would be Robert Mueller.

    The reason, I hope this was a rash decision, is that the 3 men had known each other for years. I would rather this be an inappropriate decision that wasnt really given much consideration. Rather than a set up – thats just my preference, I wouldnt be surprised to be wrong about that.

    To me this situation is like a Labor Relations Board investigation of a wrongful termination. The employer should not permit an investigation that’s being run by the plaintiff’s best friend. As the Trump administration is permitting here.

    • #7
    • September 13, 2017 at 6:33 am
    • 2 likes
  8. Member

    Mister Dog (View Comment):
    The only mistake was in timing. Comey should have been fired on Trump’s first day in office.

    This is my thought as well. However, I believe the left would likely have made up the same nonsense as they did later and they would have tried to say Trump was trying to cover up “collusion” or whatever. So, really it was just the statements he made later and the fact that he didn’t clarify that it wasn’t because of the investigation, but rather because Comey wouldn’t publicly say that Trump wasn’t under investigation.

    So, while I wish Comey had been fired day one, I think that might have turned out just as bad politically in the long run. In fact, their is a argument to be made that it was a wise risk averse move to not fire him day one. I don’t think it worked out well in the end.

    • #8
    • September 13, 2017 at 6:42 am
    • Like
  9. Thatcher

    May turn out to be the biggest own goal in recent POTUS history. Time to fire Comey was Day One, when the Director was living in a political no man’s land. But after Sessions’ recusal from fighting back against the Russiagating and the appointment of Rosenstein, an accomplished and ethical man from swamp creatureland, what was Trump thinking? Was Sessions unable to get any feedback from Rosenstein on possible Special Counsel candidates? If Sessions boxed himself out this hermetically from informal channels, he should have resigned.

    Comey to Mueller is a jump from a simmering pan to the fire. From oversight by a minimally competent, drama queen with little credibility to a Special Counsel with first-class legal skills, unrivaled domestic intelligence access and a commanding DC reputation.

    This could end very badly. A few key GOP senators are not going to convince Trump to wave goodbye, step on a helicopter and fly away.

    • #9
    • September 13, 2017 at 6:44 am
    • 4 likes
  10. Member

    Has everybody forgotten what Comey did?

    He used his pal at Columbia to leak out an alleged conversation with Trump about Flynn.

    Nobody knew who the leaker was, for 3 weeks. The nation stumbled around in the dark, while Comey basked in the limelight. When he finally went before Cingress, his prepared written testimony did not disclose it. He wasn’t going to tell us he himself was the leaker unless he got a direct inquiry, which, purely by chance, he did.

    Now of course we know the entire investig–sorry: matter–concerning Clinton was a sham; he was always gonna not charge her, per Lynch’s directive.

    Fired? You’d think the bozo woulda resigned!

    Yes, Trump’s timing was off: he shoulda done it Jan 20.

    • #10
    • September 13, 2017 at 6:49 am
    • 7 likes
  11. Member

    Except for historians like me, almost no one should know who the director of the FBI is.

    The fact that the nation became completely surrounded by a political apparatchik was not good.

    Comey and Mark Felt. Those are the wrong types of people to be leading a position that should be all but unknown.

    Fortunately Trumps pick really seems to get it.

    One of the best Directors the FBI ever had in my opinion was Clarence Kelley. I am sure almost no one of you has ever heard of. Which is a good thing.

    • #11
    • September 13, 2017 at 7:13 am
    • 9 likes
  12. Member

    It seems pretty apparent that the Comey firing was the correct thing to do, but maybe the Bannon interview brings up a better question: Was ousting Bannon the correct thing to do?

    If he honestly think the Comey firing was “the biggest mistake in modern political history”, I have to re-assess my opinion of Steve Bannon and his political instincts.

    • #12
    • September 13, 2017 at 8:04 am
    • 4 likes
  13. Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    PS – We don’t want to hear about Comey anymore!

    Okay, I would vote that as the best comment any day.

    • #13
    • September 13, 2017 at 8:22 am
    • 3 likes
  14. Coolidge

    Was Trump right to fire Comey? There’s a good argument to be made that it was the right thing to do. (See the previous comments.)

    But…

    Doing the right thing in the wrong way can be a bigger mistake than not doing that thing at all. That’s what happened here. Not only was the timing bad, as many have pointed out, but the process was completely bungled. Announcing that Comey was fired before letting him know and while he was out of DC entirely was both unprofessional and stupid. Not informing the White House PR staff in advance was another failure. And finally, the constantly changing explanations for the firing completely ruined it for the President. This might be the only time I’ll ever say it, but Steve Bannon is right. The huge mistake was not what was done, but how.

    • #14
    • September 13, 2017 at 8:43 am
    • 5 likes
  15. Member

    Trump was right to do it. While it might have been politically wrong, as some suggest, the consequences of not removing him, especially given what we now know, are likely much greater than the political cost of the moment.

    The reputation of the FBI as being above reproach was pretty much destroyed by Filegate. Remember that one? I’ve always held that of the host of Clinton – era scandals, that was the worst and most foreboding. It demonstrated that even the FBI could be, and had been, polluted by the Clinton stench.

    I say this even though I have several friends who are present or retired FBI agents. Their integrity is indeed above reproach. What remains of their agency – not so much.

    • #15
    • September 13, 2017 at 8:52 am
    • 3 likes
  16. Member

    Nick H (View Comment):
    Was Trump right to fire Comey? There’s a good argument to be made that it was the right thing to do. (See the previous comments.)

    But…

    Doing the right thing in the wrong way can be a bigger mistake than not doing that thing at all. That’s what happened here. Not only was the timing bad, as many have pointed out, but the process was completely bungled. Announcing that Comey was fired before letting him know and while he was out of DC entirely was both unprofessional and stupid. Not informing the White House PR staff in advance was another failure. And finally, the constantly changing explanations for the firing completely ruined it for the President. This might be the only time I’ll ever say it, but Steve Bannon is right. The huge mistake was not what was done, but how.

    More than the act or timing of it, the way it was done and the follow up was horrendous, and did much damage to Trump. Personally I loved every minute of it, as Trump and his team flopped around managing to fumble what could have been an easy play. I think a better person could probably have let Comey see the need to step down of his own accord.

    • #16
    • September 13, 2017 at 8:58 am
    • 2 likes
  17. Thatcher

    I agree with those who commented that the timing and manner of the firing was the problem. The time to do it was on Jan. 20. I fear that the time may come when Trump decides that IRS Commissioner Koskinen finally needs to go, but firing him now will also create problems, when it would have been easy to do so, and should have been done, on Jan. 20.

    The primary imperative for any administration is to avoid appointment of a special counsel, who is then free to create continued havoc until they find a crime with which to charge someone with. Clinton did not want a special counsel appointed to investigate Whitewater, but felt politically unable to stop Janet Reno who appointed counsel and then, when the independent counsel law was renewed, ended up a with three judge panel appointing Ken Starr.

    The Bush Administration, with Ashcroft’s silly recusal, allowed Comey to appoint Fitzpatrick as counsel to lead a witch hunt against Dick Cheney.

    The Obama administration learned the lesson and, with stalwarts Holder and Lynch in place at DOJ, could be confident they would never recuse themselves or appoint special counsel themselves even for matters where the conflict was obvious and cried out for special counsel such as Fast & Furious, IRS and the Clinton emails.

    While the firing of Comey was the proximate cause of the appointment of Mueller as special counsel (it occurred the week following the firing), the root cause is the failure of the Trump Administration to think ahead when it was appointing Sessions as AG. It should have been obvious by then that the Democrats and their media cheering section were using the Russian allegations to manuever appointment of a special counsel. Assurances should have been sought from Sessions or anyone else that they would not recuse under any circumstances. Since Trump doesn’t understand how the federal government works or the history of special counsels I wouldn’t have expected him to bring up the issue, but wasn’t there someone on his team with enough knowledge and ability to think ahead on this?

    • #17
    • September 13, 2017 at 10:25 am
    • 2 likes
  18. Coolidge

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    The Obama administration learned the lesson and, with stalwarts Holder and Lynch in place at DOJ, could be confident they would never recuse themselves or appoint special counsel themselves even for matters where the conflict was obvious and cried out for special counsel such as Fast & Furious, IRS and the Clinton emails.

    Holder and Lynch were poster children for the swamp Trump is supposed to be draining. They should not be held up as examples for Sessions to follow.

    • #18
    • September 13, 2017 at 10:32 am
    • Like
  19. Thatcher

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    The Obama administration learned the lesson and, with stalwarts Holder and Lynch in place at DOJ, could be confident they would never recuse themselves or appoint special counsel themselves even for matters where the conflict was obvious and cried out for special counsel such as Fast & Furious, IRS and the Clinton emails.

    Holder and Lynch were poster children for the swamp Trump is supposed to be draining. They should not be held up as examples for Sessions to follow.

    In the modern presidency, the AG should never recuse. Special counsel are guided missiles designed to destroy presidencies by any means necessary. Both Ashcroft and Sessions should not have recused. Obama showed how it needs to be done.

    • #19
    • September 13, 2017 at 10:45 am
    • 2 likes
  20. Member

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    The Obama administration learned the lesson and, with stalwarts Holder and Lynch in place at DOJ, could be confident they would never recuse themselves or appoint special counsel themselves even for matters where the conflict was obvious and cried out for special counsel such as Fast & Furious, IRS and the Clinton emails.

    Holder and Lynch were poster children for the swamp Trump is supposed to be draining. They should not be held up as examples for Sessions to follow.

    In the modern presidency, the AG should never recuse. Special counsel are guided missiles designed to destroy presidencies by any means necessary. Both Ashcroft and Sessions should not have recused. Obama showed how it needs to be done.

    I’m with Gumby on this one. If the AG has to recuse themselves, they aren’t doing their job in a sense. I know sometimes it may come up during a term, but anything from before either step up or step out.

    Now, that being said, I don’t think Sessions should be the one to control an investigation into the Trump campaign. That would have the appearance of impropriety. However, Sessions should not have recused himself from all things Russian or election.

    As far as special counsel goes, I don’t think the Trump administration should have made it as easy as it was to start it. Also, it’s not the swamp to avoid special counsels, it’s the swamp to attempt to undue an election.

    • #20
    • September 13, 2017 at 10:55 am
    • Like
  21. Coolidge

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    In the modern presidency, the AG should never recuse. Special counsel are guided missiles designed to destroy presidencies by any means necessary. Both Ashcroft and Sessions should not have recused. Obama showed how it needs to be done.

    If your ideal is corrupt Chicago machine politics, then yes, he did.

    • #21
    • September 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm
    • Like
  22. Thatcher

    It’s a swamp for Trump. For the 90% of establishment DC that detests Trump, it’s just a warm bath with a whole of green.

    Trump didn’t claim he’d try to drain the swamp. He bragged that he could because he had navigated it for years.

    Within a few months, the Democrats had launched a preposterous Russiagate offensive, his AG recused owing to a memory blip in an interchange with a mediocre comedian, and the entire Democratic offensive has been handed off from an incompetent discredited FBI director to one of the noble knights of the swamp with complete access to Justice Department resources and no oversight by the AG. Navigation more incompetent than the Exxon Valdez.

    Rather have Comey or Mueller pursuing you?

    Rather step in the ring with George Plimpton or Archie Moore?

    • #22
    • September 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm
    • 2 likes
  23. Member

    Columbo (View Comment):
    Trump was right. And, recent facts coming to light have provided the substantiation for this action.

    Comey and Clinton: Rigged from Beginning

    I think that is absolutely correct. Unfortunately, the facts did not come to light before Trump acted, and, as a consequence, his actions were seen at the time and continue to be thought of as ill-times and ill-advised.

    • #23
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm
    • Like
  24. Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    I don’t remember the last time I heard a girly-man speak at the nation, except that it was when Comey breathlessly said “Hillary Clinton did wrong…but it’s ok.” He had to go. No question about it. I just wish it had happened sooner.

    PS – We don’t want to hear about Comey anymore!

    Oh, come on @spin. Let’s have some hot chocolate. What’d say?

    • #24
    • September 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm
    • Like