FBI's, nation's future depends on Trump's next move

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

FBI Director James Comey was speaking to field agents in Los Angeles Tuesday when he noticed television graphics announcing he had been fired.

He chuckled, finished the speech, left the room and didn’t return. We assume the FBI paid for his flight back to Washington.

Democrats, who had called for his firing after he connected Hillary Clinton’s emails to the Anthony Wiener investigation just before the election, are now comparing the firing to Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre.”

Some Republicans are even calling for appointment of a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into possible Russian influence in the 2016 election. In the light of history, it’s remarkable that such a possibility hasn’t received more attention than it has.

President Trump, for his part, thinks both parties will be thanking him, once things calm down.

Comey, 56, was appointed to a 10-year term by President Barack Obama in 2013 after three decades in law enforcement, but his previous brush with fame was in 2004, when as a deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, rushed to the hospital bed of ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft to physically stop White House officials from obtaining reauthorization for a secret no-warrant wiretapping program.

Trump tweeted that he’ll name a replacement “who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.”

He or she will have a daunting task if the goal is to truly restore the agency’s independent status.

Unless it is, Comey’s firing could be the final nail in the coffin of the agency J. Edgar Hoover built.

Hoover built the agency from the inception, cultivating an “Untouchables” image, battling organized crime through the Depression, the counter culture in the 1960s until he died during the Watergate era. Presidents from Roosevelt to Nixon were afraid to fire or even oppose him, lest he use personal information against them.

A number of cabinet members have already been forced out of their posts, or from consideration. But firing the head of the country’s most important law enforcement agency goes far beyond that.

Trump’s next move will set an important tone for the FBI and, more importantly, America as well.

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