Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade: Comey Firing Threatens FBI’s Independence

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

This week President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the man in charge of leading the investigation of Trump’s connection to Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

The White House has given various accounts and explanations for Comey’s firing. But in an interview yesterday with NBC, Trump himself said the firing was his idea and that it tied to his frustration with Comey leading the Russia investigation.

Former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade — also part of a group of federal prosecutors let go by Trump’s administration — wrote an Op-Ed on this topic for the Washington Post this week. She writes: 

During my career as a prosecutor, I learned that independence is essential in law enforcement. The legitimacy of our justice system depends on public trust that criminal charges and investigations are based on a fair application of the law and not on a political agenda or ideology. Career prosecutors and investigators know that public trust matters, and consequently they zealously safeguard not only their actual independence, but also the appearance of independence.”

McQuade joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to discuss the Comey’s ouster from the FBI.

One of things that is so painful to watch as a career prosecutor who loves the Department of Justice,” McQuade says, “is I see this constant eroding of public trust in our institutions.”

McQuade discusses her surprise to see Comey fired now, months into Trump’s presidency and in the middle of the Russia investigation. If Trump would have let Comey go soon after his inauguration, McQuade says, it would have been a different situation.

She also discusses the protocol for proper communication with the White House and explains the attention given to the rules to ensure there is no inappropriate communication between the White House and the Department of Justice.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 

Image credit: The United States Attorney's Office

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