The firing that rocks US administration

Dhaka,  Sat,  29 July 2017
Published : 19 May 2017, 21:09:38
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The firing that rocks US administration

Mohammad Amjad Hossain
Amidst investigation into Russia's relations with campaign officials of Donald Trump during the election campaign the firing of FBI Director James Comey on May 8 by the President has caused discomfort in the US administration. The President said that he fired FBI Director on the recommendation of Attorney General Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General. The firing of FBI Director came amidst seeking further money from the Department of Justice reportedly for continuing investigation but a spokesperson in the Justice Department denied any such request by the FBI Director. But Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said: I understand that there have been additional requests. In recent past the US intelligence community accused Moscow of carrying out a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic political institutions to influence American election, leaking stolen materials to be published on websites through WikiLeaks.

Against the backdrop of firings of acting Attorney General Sally Yates and US attorney Preet Bharara from investigating Russian collusion and interference, now the firing of FBI Director raised eyebrow in the Congress. At least a dozen of Republican Senators and a number of Democrat Senators have accused President of committing an unprecedented act. Republican Senator who chairs the Senate Intelligence committee, Richard Burr, is on record by saying the timing of this action and reasoning for it do not make sense 'to me' while Chairman of Armed Service committee of the Senate Senator John McCain of the Republican said he was "disappointed in the President's decisions to remove James Comey from office. James Comey is a man of honour and integrity and he has led FBI well in extraordinary circumstances". Republican Senator Marco Rubio of the Republican party whom President Donald Trump cultivated after occupying the White House has this to say: "I do have questions about why he was dismissed at this time given his service and performances." On the other hand, Democrat Senators in one voice demanded establishing a separate independent council to investigate involvement of Russian interference during Presidential elections of the United States. Democrat Congressman Eric Swalwell blasted President Donald Trump for firing James Comey and called it the "Tuesday afternoon Massacre".

In 1973 President Richard Nixon did the same thing as did Donald Trump. Richard Nixon fired those who were investigating the Watergate scandal. His efforts resulted in the so-called Saturday Night massacres that saw two justice department officials and a special prosecutor resign. President did not escape wrath of lawmakers and somehow President Nixon dodged investigation of the House of Representatives which had begun on July 27 in 1974 but avoided Senate trial and resigned from presidentship.

Since there was no response from majority leader of the Senate McConnell of the Republican to an independent investigation into Russia's meddling in internal affairs of the United States, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein invoked a rule that prevented committee hearings for two hours after the Senate convened on May 10. However, Chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee invited former FBI Director James Comey  to testify before the committee while acting Director of FBI  Andrew McCabe at the hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11 categorically defended integrity of former FBI Director James Comey and insisted that the investigation of Russian involvement into the internal affair of the US during presidential election would not be affected. In fact, acting Director of FBI refuted allegations of the President against the former Director of FBI.

The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to the former National Security adviser of President Donald Trump, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, to turn over documents related to the panel's probe into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, including possible ties between Russian administration and the presidential campaign.

The crisis deepened around the White House as Democrats continued to demand appointing a special prosecutor for the purpose.

The writer is a retired diplomat from Bangladesh. He writes from Virginia.

amjad.21@gmail.com
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