With all these scandals, stories and (alternative) facts, you may find yourself asking the question, “What the hell is going on?”
That question is what brings us to today’s installment of “What the Hell is Going On?” where I’ll be updating you on the world of politics, but in layman’s terms (which is just a fancy way of saying I’ll make things real simple for ya).
So, James Comey: Who is he? What’s his job? Why was he fired? Is he FDA approved? BPA Free? Vegan?
A prominent New York prosecutor, Comey was appointed as director of the FBI under President Obama back in 2013.
Fast forward to 2016. Clinton, then serving as President Obama’s Secretary of State (who primarily advises and manages foreign policy) had been subjected to a routine investigation revealing she sent emails with classified information via her personal email account.
The FBI— led by our friend Jim Comey— probed further. Several senate hearings and one too many “Lock Her Up!”s later, the investigation concluded Clinton had not jeopardized national security; there was no case to be made against her.
This action by Comey, who, despite Republican roots does not currently have a party affiliation, enraged conservatives, namely Donald Trump. He called the decision indicative of a “rigged system.”
Pandemonium over the email scandal had all but stagnated when, weeks before the 2016 Presidential election, Comey dropped a bombshell: During an unrelated investigation into Sen. Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Clinton’s confidant and campaign adviser Huma Abedin, 30,000 previously-unseen emails were unearthed.
This caused public outcry, this time on the democratic side of the aisle. Many said such announcements so near to an election are unethical. The FBI, a non-partisan political agency, is not supposed to take actions that may sway the outcome of an election.
Now, Comey had both the Democrats and Republicans on his tail (a sad but not uncommon side effect of having a conscience).
Shortly thereafter, Clinton was once again cleared of any crimes. Most of the emails were mundane exchanges or copies of things we already knew; so, basically, we lost our shit for nothing.
In the meantime, rumors of the Trump campaign having ties with Russia began to circulate, and were later confirmed,prompting the FBI— once again, led by Comey—to look into the matter. However, they did not technically accuse Donald Trump himself of any wrongdoing.
Then, on May 7th, Trump dismissed Comey from his position. As per usual, this statement was released to the public, which read as follows (with added translations to assist reader comprehension):
Dear Director Comey:
I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.
You know that guy on my team found to have connections with Russia during the election? No, not Michael Flynn, the other one- no, no, not Carter page, the other one— no, not Paul Manafort, damnit, the other one!
Attorney General Jeff Sessions! That guy!
He’s a pretty smart guy, and as you already know, I greatly appreciate criticism and input from others. On that note, I am firing you, the man investigating my illicit ties to the Russia, at the recommendation of the previously aforementioned staffer who also has illicit ties to Russia–NO I DIDN’T MEAN REX TILLERSON! THE OTHER ONE!
While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.
For the official record, I am not under investigation. I’m not firing you because I’m under investigation because I’m not under investigation. Hahaha who said anything about an investigation? Not me! You’re fired!
Oh, and remember- that guy told me to do it!
It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.
It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that is more willing to be my whipping boy.
I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
Skrew you, skrew your wife, and skrew your kids.
-Donald J. Trump
So what does this mean? The man leading an investigation of Donald Trump’s staff was fired by Donald Trump.
While Trump claims this was a reaction to the controversial way Comey handled the Clinton email scandal, just months beforehand he had praised Comey for it.
Moreover, Trump chose to fire Comey over 100 days after the start of his presidency and over a hundred more since Comey’s infamous email announcement. Had the Clinton investigation been a factor,many ask, why did he wait so long to fire Comey— a luxury many other government employees, officials and agencies did not have?
Some speculate it was a move to avoid investigation and bury rumors of collusion with Russia. “Getting rid of Comey removes the guy who is running the Russia investigation,” said one news analyst. “It removes the guy who can look Congress in the eye and say credibly that the FBI is investigating whether anyone in the Trump orbit was actively working with the Russians.”
But Comey has not spoken out against Trump in regards to this issue, nor did he entertain rumors that this was an act of corruption.
Comey released a poignant, sincere letter of resignation, which was penned not to Trump, but to the American people whom he has so diligent served for so many years. It read as follows:
“ To all:
I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.
I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.
It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.
If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.
Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.
No translation needed.