So you’re confused about this whole James Comey thing but also care about America so want to be less confused? Come with me!
Comey was (until today) the Director of the FBI. A Republican appointed
by Barack Obama in 2013. He made a lot of enemies in the Democratic
Party when, 11 days before the 2016 election, he re-opened investigation
into Hillary’s emails.
Turned out nothing interesting was in
those new emails, and also that this probably did result in Hillary
losing the election. Kinda uncool. Also turns out, he did not announce
that the FBI was looking into links between Trump’s campaign and the
It is clear (though some still argue) that
Russia actively worked to influence the outcome of the US Presidential
election. They did this by hacking and releasing information on Hillary
Clinton, and by creating and promoting incendiary and false news stories
The Obama Administration knew about this and got real mad
at Russia, basically kicking all of their diplomats out of the country
and creating new sanctions.
There are two main concerns that the FBI (and other agencies, including congress) have been looking into.
Whether the Trump campaign was in communication with the Russians
before or after the election to say that the Obama sanctions wouldn’t
(This would be bad. Basically actively working against the existing government of the United States, which is illegal.)
2. Whether the Trump campaign actively worked with the Russians to time the release of negative information on Hillary Clinton.
(This would be even worse. Both could be considered treason.)
number of people in Trump’s campaign and also his current team had
conversations with Russian diplomats and lied about it. This includes
Mike Flynn, who definitely violated the law and who was fired for lying
to VP Pence about it. It also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions,
who agreed that he would not be involved in the Russia investigations
because he lied under oath about it.
The FBI has had an on-going investigation into this stuff the whole time, and James Comey has been leading that investigation.
note, a Grand Jury is a citizen panel that decides whether there’s
enough evidence to try a case. These are usually secret, in order to
protect the people who might not be even brought to trial, much less
found guilty. But sometimes they need to gather information, like
documents or testimony. And they do this with court summonses called
Well, yesterday, CNN reported that a Federal Grand Jury
investigating Mike Flynn and the Trump Campaigns ties to Russia exists.
That Grand Jury has issued subpoenas for more information, indicating
to experts a high level of seriousness to the investigation.
pretty clear that Trump campaign knows about this, and as it’s a Federal
case, it was likely overseen by the FBI director, James Comey.
just before that story came out, the Trump team decided that Comey’s
treatment of Hillary’s emails was bad, and fired him. The recommendation
to fire Comey came from AG Sessions, who, again, recused himself from
the Russia investigation after lying under oath. To be clear, both
Sessions and Trump have previously praised Comey at length for his
treatment of that investigation.
The response from Dems and also
many Reps has been shock. It is very concerning for a President to fire
someone who is investigating him. This seems to have happened very
quickly. Comey found out he was fired the same time as everyone else,
the letter Trump wrote to him was delivered to DC, but Comey was in Los
Angeles at the time. Of course, the Deputy Director of the FBI is now in
charge, but Trump has the job of appointing a new director, and has not
made any sign that he has a list of candidates.
This seems the
sort of thing that most congressional lawmakers, who have a mandate to
check the power of the President, should be very worried about. Many are
calling for a Special Prosecutor, who would be free to work without
congressional approval, to be appointed.
Others want broad, unanimous support for Comey’s replacement, which would ensure someone who is not under Trump’s thumb.
power to grant these things lies with congress. A congress that is
controlled by the President’s party, but not by the President.
And that is where we are. It is pretty convoluted, thank you for taking the time to read.
The controversial points in this are:
Whether the Russian government hacked Hillary’s emails (many
Republicans say there is no proof while every intelligence agency in the
US said that it was orchestrated by the Russian government.
Whether Jeff Sessions lied under oath or if he just misspoke or forgot
that he had met with Russian officials. In any case, he agreed to remove
himself from the congressional investigation.
3. Whether the
Trump Campaign investigation was the cause of Comey’s firing. The stated
reason is that Comey “lost credibility” and damaged the reputation of
the FBI by mis-handling the Clinton email investigation.(source)