James Comey’s dismissal came as a bolt from the blue for both the Democrats and the Republicans, RIA Novosti political analyst Vladimir Ardayev wrote in his op-ed, suggesting that the move could have been part of Trump’s “housecleaning” of the US’ power structures.
It appears that US President Donald Trump has launched a thorough housecleaning of the US’ power structures, RIA Novosti political analyst Vladimir Ardayev notes in his recent op-ed, referring to the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, Acting Attorney General Sally Caroline Yates and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.
Predictably, Trump’s political opponents have perceived Comey’s firing as Trump’s attempts to cover his tracks amid allegations of Russian interference in the US presidential election.
“They fired Sally Yates. They fired Preet Bharara. And they fired James Comey, the very man leading the investigation. This does not seem to be a coincidence,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN. “Any person who he appoints to lead the Russian investigation will be concerned that he or she will meet the same fate as Director Comey.”
Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations as nonsensical, qualifying them as Washington’s attempts to distract the US public from revelations regarding pressing domestic concerns.
Before his resignation, Comey had come under heavy bipartisan criticism, Ardayev noted, stressing that in fact, Trump did what his predecessor, Barack Obama, had intended to do.
The Russian journalist recalled that Comey had found himself at the epicenter of a scandal in July 2016 when the FBI officially announced that it had closed the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of official emails containing classified information.
“Comey’s decision to stop the investigation caused a storm of criticism — especially in the camp of the Republicans, who accused him of openly playing into the hands of Donald Trump’s main opponent,” Ardayev wrote.
Still, it was only the beginning. In the late October 2016, just ten days before the November election, FBI agents discovered about 15,000 new Clinton emails, some of which “somehow” ended up on former congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop. It was reported later that Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife, “forwarded” these letters to her husband.
“However, this fact had not forced James Comey to change his stance on [Clinton’s email case]: just two days before the election, he said that the discovered letters did not change the position of the Bureau, thus confirming his previous decision to close the case,” Ardayev wrote, adding that this move has prompted yet another wave of outrage in the Republican camp.
Almost simultaneously, Comey turned the spotlight on the investigation of former President Bill Clinton which took place about 15 years ago.
The FBI released documents concerning Bill Clinton’s suspected violation of the law by pardoning entrepreneur Mark Rich, accused of tax evasion and illegal deals with Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981.
“The FBI gave the Hillary Clinton campaign another unpleasant surprise Tuesday, this time releasing 129 pages of documents from a 2001 investigation into Bill Clinton’s controversial presidential pardon of fugitive Marc Rich,” USA Today reported on November 1, 2016.
In addition, the FBI announced that it had attached “high priority” to the inquiry into the Clinton Foundation — a non-profit organization run by Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton.
As a result, Comey had come under attack from both Republicans and Democrats.
“The Republicans accused him of closing the email case and interfering in the elections on the side of the Democrats,” Ardayev noted. “For their part, the Democrats viewed the reminder of the investigation into Bill Clinton and the statement regarding the investigation of the fund’s activities, as attempts aimed at discrediting their candidate. Both of them reproached the head of the FBI for the unacceptable political motivation of his activities.”
The United States Department of Justice, for its part, drew attention to the fact that FBI Director Comey had actually exceeded his authority by bringing Clinton’s email probe to a halt, stressing that such a decision was the prerogative of the Attorney General’s office.
“It was leaked to the Western press that former President Barack Obama sought to remove Comey from his position,” Ardayev noted.
Given all of the above, Comey’s resignation was rather predictable, but the timing of the decision was wrong, according to the Russian political analyst.
He highlighted that Comey’s dismissal came as a bolt from the blue for both the Democrats and the Republicans.
“Richard Burr, GOP chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called Trump’s decision ‘untimely’,” the political analyst remarked.
— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) May 9, 2017
”I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination,” Burr wrote in an official statement. “His dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee… His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.”
Besides, Comey’s dismissal coincided with the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Donald Trump, Ardayev noted, adding that it could potentially cast a shadow on the coverage of the US-Russian relationship in the US and European mainstream media.
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