President Donald Trump’s dismissal of FBI director James Comey stunned many – including the director himself, who was giving a speech in Los Angeles when television monitors behind him broke the news that he was fired.
Many Democrats who previously had called for Comey’s ouster are now crying foul. They say the timing of Comey’s firing is suspicious and casts a shadow over efforts to investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Robert Walsh, a former FBI supervisor says he was shocked by Comey’s abrupt termination.
“I thought that he would be protected because of the 10-year tenure that the FBI directors have,” said Walsh. “I was surprised at how it happened. Usually at the FBI if you are firing someone you give them a hearing, you talk to them – none of that happened. They made a decision and they got rid of him.”
For former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Collins the most pressing question is, why now?
“I was surprised by the timing and this report this morning that he had just asked for more resources (for the investigation into possible ties between Russia and Trump). Do I in my heart of hearts believe it had something to do with how he’s handling the Russia matter? I think probably,” said Collins.
“The idea that Trump can now appoint the person that’s going to oversee the investigation of his administration and Trump-Russia ties – there’s something absolutely not right about that,” said Collins. “And (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions too, he has recused himself but this is a backdoor way of influencing the entire investigation.”
John Gallo, also a former assistant U.S. attorney, says he is concerned that the credibility of any investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia will be undermined.
“Hypothetically, if in say six months or a year the investigation concludes and says they found nothing, that conclusion will be tainted because people will think that the president put his thumb on the scale.”
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