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Is Comey Firing a Constitutional Crisis?

James Comey

President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday. The administration says the firing is a result of mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

But many find the timing suspicious as Comey was currently heading up a deep investigation into the ties between the Trump administration and Russia.

Comey was only three years into a ten-year term, and he reportedly heard that he was fired from television news as he was visiting an FBI office in California. Does his firing create a constitutional crisis?

Detroit Today host, Stephen Henderson speaks with Robert Sedler, law professor at Wayne State University about Trump’s authority to do this.

Under the constitution,” says Sedler, “the entire executive power is vested in the president… So it is perfectly legal for the president to remove the director of the FBI… This matter will boil politically for a while. It may keep boiling, but the constitutional answer is clear.”

Albeit legal, there’s still plenty of speculation of ulterior motives involved in Comey’s dismissal. Henderson continues the conversation with David Shepardson, a correspondent with Reuters who covers politics in Washington D.C.

This decision obviously was made in relative haste,” says Shephardson, “given that [Comey] learned from television… This largely shows how much the Russia investigation is looming over everything and clearly the White House is exceedingly nervous about what the potential impact of that is.”

Brian Dickerson, editorial columnist with the Detroit Free Press also joins the conversation, adding that speaking directly and candidly with a few key players in the termination would be valuable. 

If I could sit down and talk to anybody involved in this under oath this morning, I think I’d start with James Comey because President Trump asserted in his letter to Comey that Comey had on three occasions told Trump that he wasn’t a target of this investigation. And so I’d like to ask Mr. Comey, ‘Is that true?’”

The segment continues with Andy Arena, executive director of the Detroit Crime Commission and former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. He says the fallout of this termination looks bleak.

I think this is a slippery slope to have this happen now,” says Arena. “It has politicized the FBI and that’s one agency that cannot be politicized.”

To hear the full conversation, click the audio player above.

Image credit: fbi.gov

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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