If you’ve feared that Donald Trump would trample on democracy ever since he was elected, then it’s time to freak and then fight back.. The firing of the FBI Director James Comey could be a first step towards dictatorship, according to a legal expert. Here’s why.
When Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey suddenly on May 9th, he told Comey in a publicly released letter that he was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau.” He also wrote that “it is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.” Sounds reasonable after the Hillary Clinton email debacle which she herself believes tipped the election against her. However, Donald Trump had effusively praised Comey on the Hillary situation up until that point. “What he did was the right thing,” Trump crowed at a rally on Oct. 31, 2016.
All that reportedly changed once Comey revealed that the FBI was deep into an investigation of the ties with Russia between Trump associates like former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and had even recently requested more money for the mission. The investigation is part of a larger investigation into Russia’s role in interfering with the presidential election by flooding the internet with horrifying fake news stories and tweets about Hillary Clinton, and by hacking into the emails of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign. A series of unflattering emails were then leaked to the press. All of this was done as part of a well-executed campaign to undermine Clinton and support Trump for president. And it worked. Donald Trump was surprisingly elected to be Commander-in-Chief last November.
But, one of the biggest questions that Comey’s FBI team was investigating was whether there was any actual collusion between anyone on Team Trump and the Russians. While there are also investigations in both the House of Representatives and the Senate into Russia’s interference, it was Comey’s FBI effort that had been most widely counted on to be the most in-depth effort and the only one not tainted by partisan politics. In other words — it had the resources, the expertise and the independence to get to the bottom of what actually happened.
If there was collusion — the FBI could find out.
Wouldn’t you want to know that? After all, the president of the United States is supposed to be the biggest defender of democracy in the entire world, let alone, in the United States. Nevertheless, Donald Trump — who should have been leading the charge on the investigation — has instead, repeatedly tweeted that “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer charade end?” (May 8), and “Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats for losing the election,” (May 2), plus he has questioned whether it was Russia at all who hacked Hillary’s emails. “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, ok?” he famously pronounced during a presidential debate.
That’s why Comey’s removal is so scary. If a special independent investigator isn’t named by acting U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, then Donald Trump may have successfully killed any chances of Americans finding out whether anyone on his campaign team colluded with Russia to get him elected. If they did, then his presidency’s legitimacy is seriously called into question. Is that what Trump is working so hard to prevent? He already fired former acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she warned him that Michael Flynn had lied about his connections to Russia and Turkey.
The fact that Russia interfered in our 2016 election is a huge, huge issue. It’s a threat to every election we ever have from now on. If Russia’s actions aren’t properly investigated, how can we effectively formulate a strategy to prevent Russia from “running” our elections in the future. We can’t allow Russia and Vladmir Putin to be in charge of our country. That’s why if our president, Donald Trump, interferes, undercuts or even effectively kills these investigations, which he may have just achieved by sacking Comey, then he, himself, is in essence attacking democracy.
What SHOULD happen now is that Congress should be demanding that the Department of Justice, led by Rod Rosenstein, appoint a highly credible, respected figure to lead an independent investigation into whether Donald Trump’s associates colluded with Russia. However, this Congress is led by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, and so far the Republican leaders, who should be providing the “check” on the president, are refusing to do their duty.
“The separation of powers [in the US, between the legislative, judicial and executive branches] is what prevents a dictator in America, but if the other two branches don’t do anything, then, Donald Trump will see that he can do anything he wants,” points out attorney Rachel Tiven, the CEO of non-profit Lambda Legal. “If Trump can do this [remove Comey] and no one pushes back, then he can do anything. Dictators happen when other safeguards in the system fail.”
This situation has never happened in the US before. The closest episode was when President Richard Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate scandal and he ordered the firing of the special prosecutor leading the investigation. However, Nixon faced a democratic-dominated Congress and they refused to protect him. Trump doesn’t have that situation. And his justice dept. isn’t independent either, although it’s suppose to be. Instead, it’s led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who lied to Congress about his own meetings with Russians!
“It’s up to other branches of government to hold back Trump from seizing power, because he clearly doesn’t care how corrupt his actions look,” says Tiven. Tiven warns that so far, the most likely players to push for an independent prosecutor – Republican Senators- are abandoning their responsibility to protect democracy. “If he gets away with this, then there is no stopping what he can do.”
That’s why it’s up to us to speak up before it’s too late. You have to influence your senators to grow a pair and also make sure that you are registered to vote for the Nov. 2018 mid-term elections.
You can go to govtrack.us to get the addresses, phone numbers, and all contact info for your senators. Then, let them know that you want a special, independent investigator appointed so Donald Trump can’t prevent the country from finding out what his team’s connections to Russia were all about. Americans, including you, have the right to know.
Do you agree, HollywoodLifers? Vote above and let me know!