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More Fallout In Trump Administration Follows Ouster Of FBI Director

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: May 17, 2017 - 4:57:25 PM

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People chant, May 10, as they protest the firing of FBI director James Comey by President Donald Trump, outside the downtown Los Angeles federal building. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

WASHINGTON—Less than four months in office, and yet another wheel has fallen off the Donald J. Trump presidential train.

The president fired FBI Director James Comey May 9, only days after Mr. Comey reportedly requested additional resources to conduct the FBI’s  investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election.

Former FBI Director James Comey (Bottom) Letter from President Donald Trump terminating FBI Director James Comey.

Mr. Comey had come under widespread criticism from many Democrats as well for notifying lawmakers just before the election that the FBI was once again investigating whether Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton had sent classified information from her private email server while she was secretary of state. Mrs. Clinton recently said Mr. Comey’s actions factored into her election loss.

“It’s outrageous. I mean, I thought I could no longer be surprised by this administration. Cancel that. I am shocked by what the president did,” Sen. Mark Warner, (D-Va.) told reporters. “I’m shocked, as well, by the idea that the deputy attorney general put his name to a letter that is—doesn’t pass any smell test, somehow blaming Comey for his actions during the Clinton investigation as the reason for firing. That doesn’t pass any smell test,” he said.

Many likened the action to Pres. Richard Nixon’s so-called “Saturday Night Massacre, “that night in October 1973 when Mr. Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and as his two top Justice Department officials resigned in protest rather than carry out the order.

Richard Nixon was the 37th president of the United States serving from 1969 to 1974. Photo: MGN Online

This action by President Trump represents a “troubling turn of events,” according to many observers. “Certainly it is a step in that direction (toward fascism), the fact that President Trump has fired the person who was investigating him,” Dr. Gerald Horne, Moores Chair of History and African American culture at the University of Houston told The Final Call. 

“And according to The Wall Street Journal, his financial ties with oligarchs in Russia have become a prime concern of investigators, as opposed to the so-called ‘hacking’ of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails, for example. It’s a very dangerous turn of events.”

Many Senate Democrats are now calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump administration. “This is part of a deeply troubling pattern from the Trump administration,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters. “They fired Sally Yates. They fired Preet Bharara (former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York), and now they’ve fired Director Comey, the very man leading the investigation. This does not seem to be a coincidence.”

What’s equally troubling to others, the Trump administration’s explanation about what happened seemed to change every 24 hours. Mr. Comey’s firing came on the same day CNN reported federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, as that part of the probe of the alleged Russian meddling.

The following day, a broadly smiling Mr. Trump met in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak.

The New York Times reported Mr. Comey’s dismissal came just days after he asked the Justice Department for more resources to expand the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election. Mr. Comey made the appeal to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—the same official who wrote the memo Pres. Trump later used to justify Mr. Comey’s firing.

President Donald Trump rants on his personal twitter account after the firing of FBI Director James Comey May 10. Photos: MGN Online

At the same time, The Washington Post reports Mr. Rosenstein threatened to resign after the White House cast him as the main instigator in the firing of Comey.

“Mr. Trump is facing daunting challenges,” said Dr. Horne, “and it’s in that context that the question (about approaching fascism) becomes relevant because, given the swirling conversation about criminal charges, this makes Mr. Trump ever more desperate which may lead him to take even more unpredictable and impulsive maneuvers, which could easily escalate and lead down the road to a kind of unique U.S. neo-fascism. Now, let’s hope that doesn’t happen, but it would be unrealistic to act as if the possibility does not exist.”

Diplomatic observers are equally concerned that a desperate President Trump might make a rash or impulsive decision which could lead to a catastrophic military conflict. “Clearly, the liberal interventionists in the U.S. ruling class are fed up with Mr. Trump and would like to see him depart,” Dr. Horne continued.

Already there is talk about an obstruction of justice criminal charge against him. Recall that obstruction of justice was the primary charge against Richard M. Nixon when he was ousted from the White House 40-odd years ago.

Activists however, must not be so quick to champion a fired director of the FBI. “It’s true that the firing of James Comey is an extremely significant political event,” Kshama Sawant, a Socialist city councilmember in Seattle, Washington told “Democracy Now!”

“It definitely puts on display the authoritarian streak of the Trump administration, his billionaire-backed, right-wing administration. And it also shows an administration in deep crisis. But I would say that as far as ordinary working people, people like us, people like most of the people watching this show, are concerned, I don’t think the most important question is whether or not a certain FBI director was fired,” she continued.

“And I’ll say why: because the FBI itself is part of a racist and repressive security and state apparatus. It has a long track record of targeting activists, Black activists. So, at the end of the day, the larger question is not so much about that, but about what this indicates as far as the status of the administration is concerned, and what should we be doing about it.

“I think a lot of people correctly want Trump out. I want Trump out. But I want Trump, the Republicans, the billionaire class and the security state out of power. How do we accomplish that?” Ms. Sawant said.

For his part, Mr. Trump continued with his comments, to contradict his own earlier comments, confessing in an interview with NBC, that his reason for dismissing Mr. Comey really had everything to do with his probe of his campaign’s entanglements with Russian agents.

President Donald Trump being interviewed by NBC’s Lester Holt May 11. Photos: MGNOnline
“But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey, knowing there was no good time to do it,” the President told Lester Holt of NBC News, May 11. “And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself—I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”

But there may be deeper and more sinister developments which Mr. Trump’s actions may be intended to prevent from ever being seen in the light of day. “There’s a lot on the public record,” said Dr. Horne. “For example: Mr. Trump’s relationships with financial interests in Moscow. We know that many oligarchs are buying properties in Mr. Trump’s condos,” said Dr. Horne. 

“One of the questions might be—and I think this might be what investigators are looking at, although I’m only making inferences here—is that they may have intentionally overpaid for those condo properties as a way to have an under-the-table-payment to Mr. Trump.”

Similar allegations have been made about Mr. Trump’s hotel in Washington, on Pennsylvania Avenue, just five blocks from the White House. There, diplomats conspicuously book rooms, and purchase beverages in the hotel bar, some costing as much as $100 each.

“So, that is what I suspect that this investigation is going to be looking at. These kinds of shrouded financial dealings. And I think that’s one of the reasons why Mr. Trump becomes so nervous and led him to make this rather hair-brained move, to fire Mr. Comey.”

But Mr. Trump’s maneuver may just save him, according to Dr. Horne. “As you probably know, the House and Senate committees are not sufficiently staffed. That is to say, they’re certainly not staffed to the level of the so-called Benghazi committees that were investigating Hillary Rodham Clinton as recently as last year.

“Not only that, but the FBI investigation had many facets. One of which was a counter-espionage investigation. The House and Senate committees do not have the present level of competence to deal with a counter-espionage investigation.

“There is a suspicion that the FBI was closing in, so to speak, which led to Mr. Comey being fired,” Dr. Horne continued, “which will certainly slow down this investigation, perhaps even abort this investigation, which would suggest that the truth may never be known.

“And in any case with regard to your (approach of fascism) question, Mr. Trump, I’m sure, rather than face the prospect of an obstruction of justice charge, or face the consequences of his presumed illicit dealings with Moscow, would prefer to move the country in a more steady direction to the right, in a dictatorial fashion.

“Now let’s hope that that does not occur, but once again it would be unrealistic for us to act as if that’s not a possibility,” Dr. Horne concluded.