Posted by: maboulette | May 15, 2017

Comey Firing Worse Than Watergate


Watergate

An ethics lawyer who served in George W. Bush’s White House is calling on Congress to investigate President Trump’s abrupt dismissal on Tuesday of FBI Director James Comey. Richard Painter tells Rolling Stone the surprise move is a clear-cut abuse of power.

“We cannot tolerate this – for the president to be firing people who are investigating him and his campaign and its collusion with the Russians,” Painter says. “It’s a lot worse than Watergate. Watergate was a third-rate burglary. It was purely domestic in nature. This situation involves Russian espionage, and we’ve got to find out who is collaborating.”

TRUMP FIRED COMEY TUESDAY

Trump removed Comey on last Tuesday afternoon, and the president said in a statement, on the advice of both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  This is not the story DAG Rosenstein is telling.

SESSION

Painter is not encouraged by Trump’s insistence that the decision was based on Sessions’ recommendation. “The attorney general was also part of the contacts made by the Trump campaign with Russia. The attorney general lied about that to the Senate at his confirmation hearing,” he says.

GROUNDS FOR FIRING

Painter does not believe Trump had grounds for the firing.

“The president has the right to do it – legally he can do it – but it’s an abuse of power. It’s what President Nixon did when he fired Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor, and Nixon had to go through three attorneys general to do it – he had to fire two attorneys general for refusing to fire Cox,” he says.

“This time around the attorney general is [involved] in it himself, and he went along with this and he may have encouraged it, so we have a clear abuse of power.”

TIME FOR CONGRESS TO IMPEACH

Painter says that the next step, as it was during Watergate, is for Congress to act – and, possibly, to impeach. “That’s what Congress is there for,” he says. “I think this has reached the point where the House Judiciary Committee ought to start the process of looking at this presidency and whether there has been a sufficient abuse to justify removing the president.”

“I think they need to have a hearing. That’s what the House Judiciary Committee did with Nixon, and I think we’ve reached more than enough incriminating evidence [of] abuse of power that the House Judiciary Committee ought to start the process,” he says.

REP JUSTIN AMASH

At least one GOP member has spoken up: Rep. Justin Amash said on Twitter that his staff was reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia.

“We’ll see what happens,” Painter says. “I don’t think the voters are going to tolerate it. I think that Republicans in Congress need to think about whether they want to go down with the ship, with Trump, participating in a White House cover-up here, or whether they want to restrain abuse of power by the president.” 

 

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