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May 9, 2017

Prez Trump fires FBI director Comey based on "clear recommendation" of Deputy AG Rosenstein and AG Sessions ... and ... therefore

Because I have never worked inside the Beltway or for any part of the Justice Department, I feel that I lack any kind of special expertise to have any special perspectives on the surprising decision by Prez Trump to terminate and remove from office FBI Director Jim Comey "based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions." But I do think it useful for everyone to read these materials coming from the White House in order to understand how the decision is being justified.

Bill Otis has long worked inside the Beltways and in various parts of the Justice Department, and he has praised Comey and Sessions and Rosenstein in the past, and he now has at Crime & Consequences this initial take on the Comey firing.  I would love to hear additional perspectives from folks with or without expertise on this matters.

May 9, 2017 at 11:32 PM | Permalink


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was said to have sterling reputation for integrity. That reputation is now history. Like everyone else associated with our liar in chief, Rosenstein will rue his association with Trump.

Posted by: James the Just | May 10, 2017 6:45:47 AM

Rosenstein's rationale for recommending firing of Comey is specious. Shame on him.

Posted by: Emily | May 10, 2017 7:20:31 AM

I look forward to the post that discusses the implications of how a new head of the FBI to sentencing law and policy issues.

Posted by: Joe | May 10, 2017 10:51:33 AM

I am honestly not sure of the implications for sentencing law and policy, Joe. Comey had made comments suggesting that de-policing after Ferguson et al. were part of the reasons for an uptick in crime, and at a time of rising crime there are a bunch of complicated connections between what the "top cops" are saying and what politicians and prosecutors are doing. A lot may turn on the background and commitments of whomever becomes the new head, though I welcome your take and others on these dynamic times.

Posted by: Doug B | May 10, 2017 11:00:26 AM

I rarely, if ever, agree with Bill Otis, but Comey was compromised and should have been fired. The problem is a political one, Obama could not fire him while he was investigating Clinton, and President Trump should not have fired him now, while he and/or his associates are being investigated. If Trump had to fire him, the right move would have been to simultaneously request appointment of a special prosecutor, independent of DOJ and Comey, to show you are not afraid, have nothing to hide and are terminating Comey for the right reasons. But Trump has no judgment.

Posted by: defendergirl | May 10, 2017 11:12:01 AM

I said after the election it was only a matter of time before Comey got fired and I was correct. The reason I said that was because many of the facts that Bill O. laid out in his blog article but most especially his point number three. I thought at the time Comey was clearly taking a bullet for Clinton under the theory that she would be the next President.

BTW, I think it a great myth that th FBI director is not a political position. Of course it is. It may be that the FBI as an institution needs some degree of political independence in the run-of-th mill case but the idea that a person appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress is not supposed to be political is bizarre to me.

The next shoe to drop in my opinion is whether they go after Hillary now. My belief is that they will arrest her sooner or later, there is obviously probable cause for them to do so and it will be juicy red meat for the base that has long hungered for her blood. I don't think they will be able to resist the temptation.

Posted by: Daniel | May 10, 2017 11:45:32 AM

Thanks Doug B. I'll wait and see.

I think defendergirl's comment as a whole gets to a key problem here. If you are going to fire him, there is a way to go about it. See also, e.g., the "worst case scenario" post at Lawfare. The cover letter Trump added was charming too.

As a whole, the deputy AG is tainted by the whole process used too. I gather some will see my comments as coming from a certain left leaning p.o.v. but enough people without my politics are out there saying basically the same thing.

Bill Otis also noted his personal support of Comey. Reports are also that many inside the FBI are upset. The whole process used to fire him down to reports of the person who delivered the letter probably didn't help there either.

Posted by: Joe | May 10, 2017 11:54:12 AM


Martha Steward lies about not receiving a phone call to FBI agents, in an informal conversation at her home, not under oath. They spend $2 million prosecuting her for that, and not for insider trading. She spend 5 months in stir, 5 months on house arrest, and 2 years on parole.

Clinton has a private server in her bathroom to make deals on lucrative speaking engagements in exchange for favorable treatment by the State Department, basically running an auction house of bribes for favors. And Comey is wringing his hands about whether to look into it, about prosecuting her.

Then, he runs with a totally false allegation of Russian influence on the Trump campaign, after nearly all Democrats in Congress admit to meeting with Russian officials.

Now there is high drama over the firing of this lawyer, Comey, a totally biased, Democratic Party operative who infiltrated the highest reaches of our federal police force.

Meanwhile, terrorists have their way and cannot be stopped. Illegal alien MS13 gangs are beheading people who offended them. And, China, and every one else, has all our state and industrial secrets likely prior to their presentation to the department heads. Then the FBI is not counting internet crimes, and claiming crime is dropping steadily.

Here is what the leader after Trump should do. Fire the lawyers in the FBI, and replace them with good police officers. No lawyer allowed to lead this totally worthless, coffee slurping, secretary chatting group of lawyer dunderheads. Clean out the FBI completely. Start over with a real police force.

Posted by: David Behar | May 10, 2017 12:26:11 PM

Fire Rosenstein. He is a mass murderer of young black males by his police department consent decrees. He is the vector of the Ferguson Effect.

Posted by: David Behar | May 10, 2017 12:27:02 PM

Idiot blog.

Posted by: anon | May 10, 2017 1:16:56 PM

@joe " If you are going to fire him, there is a way to go about it. "

Oh lookey here, someone hurt poor little Comey's fee fees. And they upset his friends too. Wah! Wah! Wah!

These are grown men who put tens of thousands of people in prison every year and in the process I doubt they gave a single damn about the defendant's feelings. Personally, I don't give a damn about any FBI agents feeling because if I were ever investigated by one I know for a fact he wouldn't give a damn about mine.

Comey's firing was an adult business decision, not some liberal arts college stare-rape cry-in.

Posted by: Daniel | May 10, 2017 1:29:35 PM

Comey is hardly a Democratic operative. He was a registered Republican for most of his adult life, but is currently no longer registered in any party. He donated to U.S. Senator John McCain’s campaign in the 2008 presidential election and to Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign in the 2012 presidential election

Posted by: Emily | May 10, 2017 3:20:43 PM

"Oh lookey here, someone hurt poor little Comey's fee fees"


A personal comment. Daniel has repeatedly now not only misunderstood what I'm saying, but in a rather snotty way that suggests he finds my opinion shoddy and insulting. A low point was when he accused me of reverse racism in crude terms.

I'm going to stop engaging with this sort of thing for the time being.

Posted by: Joe | May 10, 2017 3:51:43 PM

"In September 2013, Comey was appointed Director of the FBI by President Barack Obama.[4]" (Wikipedia)

Emily: Dirty traitors and infiltrators are more reprehensible than enemies.

Posted by: David Behar | May 10, 2017 6:44:32 PM

Daniel said, "Personally, I don't give a damn about any FBI agents feeling because if I were ever investigated by one I know for a fact he wouldn't give a damn about mine."

True. Does a reptile have compassion for the mammal he has swallowed whole? You may ask Joe about that.

My attitude is different. Any lawsuit, any investigation is opportunity to destroy the life of a lawyer. I would love to be investigated by the FBI. It would give me legal standing to hunt the lawyer. I have run them out of the profession, out of the state. I would like to see one arrested, tried and imprisoned for their wrongful legal action.

Posted by: David Behar | May 10, 2017 6:54:40 PM

"Reports are also that many inside the FBI are upset."

Apparently when @joe wrote this she meant not emotionally upset but physically upset as in in tossing back and forth because of an earthquake. I would have thought that emotionally upset was the most natural reading of what she wrote but since she has since corrected me with a prim "no" I will take her word for it. My apologizes for reading something into her comment that wasn't there.

Posted by: Daniel | May 10, 2017 7:20:03 PM

Having lived in DC since Reagan, I have watched the partisanship devolve incrementally. But thee has always been a system, a process, that has been followed. Very little done by this administration fits the model. It doesn't appear that any one inside the White House knows anything about procedure, rule of law , ethics, or the Constitution. Eventually, the story will be told. But more importantly, the crimes will be revealed, both in the White House and more importantly, the foreign involvement in our election process will cease.

Posted by: Bella Ellers | May 10, 2017 9:40:12 PM

Bella. Whom did you vote for in 2016?

Posted by: David Behar | May 11, 2017 1:47:28 AM


Comey was fired by Trump for being unfair to Clinton, in last days before election, helping Trump get elected.

Democrats call for the firing of Comey. Once fired by Trump, they want Trump impeached for causing a constitutional crisis by firing Comey, a firing they had demanded.

Comey demanded more money for Russian investigation. No amount of money will bring any conclusion because there is nothing to investigate.

Democrats still do not believe, real Americans put Trump in office to get a change. They were not influenced by Russians. Democrats refuse to accept the rejection by real Americans.

Posted by: David Behar | May 11, 2017 2:05:34 AM

Trump should ignore the tantrums of his opposition. They wanted Comey fired. Now they are using his firing against Trump. That is just extreme partisanship.

We always say, lawyers are the stupidest group of people. And, Harvard Law grads are the stupidest among the lawyers. So Rosenstein is given the assignment to legally justify the firing of Comey by Trump. He comes up with the unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton prior to the election.

Isn't that the stupidest analysis anyone has ever made in the annals of extreme lawyer analysis stupidity? Harvard Law grads are indeed the stupidest among the group of lawyers, the stupidest people in our country. Rosenstein was near the top of his class. That makes him the stupidest among Harvard Law grads.

His other example of extreme stupidity is the mass murder of young blacks males after his consent decree with the Baltimore police to treat young black males more fairly and gently. That example of stupidity to the extreme is not funny, but it is tragic.

Posted by: David Behar | May 11, 2017 7:47:59 AM

Comey covered up Clinton massive criminality and the selling of her office in the State Department. FBI insiders are saying, 80% of field agents are glad Comey was fired.

Posted by: David Behar | May 11, 2017 8:40:30 AM

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