FBI Director James Comey’s actions that led to his ouster Tuesday had been known publicly for months. So, many wonder why the Trump administration decided to sack him now instead of waiting for the completion of the DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz’s review.
The inspector general office confirmed the review “is ongoing,” and it should take a year to complete.
Justice Department Rushed Comey’s Ouster
The announcement that the review is far from over is also puzzling as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommended Comey to be fired long before the department’s investigators reached a final conclusion on his actions.
Many people in Washington speculate Comey lost his job because of his role in the Russia-Trump investigation. At the time of the termination, he was directly in charge of the investigation and had no intent of closing it prematurely. Matt Olsen who served in the Justice Department under Obama said the firing had no justification.
Sen. Mark Warner described president Trump’s decision to sack Comey as “shocking”. Warner is a member of the Senate intelligence panel that is leading an independent investigation into the Russia story. He said that it is “deeply troubling” for a Commander in Chief to sack the chief of the nation’s top law enforcement agency in the midst of an active counterintelligence investigation into the president’s campaign crew’s contacts with a foreign government.
The inspector general is analyzing a series of issues to see if Comey has done something that requires his immediate dismissal. Horowitz is now looking into Comey’s July statement in which he did not recommend a prosecution of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his October letter to Congress announcing lawmakers that he relaunched the probe.
Comey Reportedly Disgraced the Bureau
These two facts directly led to Comey’s termination, as the Deputy AG wrote in a memo Tuesday. Rosenstein accused the FBI chief of infringing the department’s principles when he handled the conclusion of the Clinton email probe.
The FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them,
Rosenstein’s memo reads.
Last week, Comey attempted to defend himself in the Senate. At the time, he explained that when he found Clinton’s emails on the laptop of aide Huma Abedin’s estranged husband Anthony Weiner he had two options: to “conceal” the findings or to inform Congress committees of any new revelations.
On Tuesday, Rosenstein described “conceal” as a term that does not reflect the reality. The deputy AG explained that when the feds silently start a criminal investigation they are not concealing anything. They are only following a policy that bars the disclosure of nonpublic information before an investigation is completed.
Comey said last week Horowitz had interviewed him and he expected other similar interviews to follow. People briefed on the matter disclosed other key persons in the controversy had not been interviewed.
So, Comey’s ouster leaves more questions than answers. Senator Richard Burr who is also a member of the Senate intelligence panel conducting the Russia investigation said he was “troubled by the timing and reasoning” of Trump’s decision.
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