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Trump Had A Right to Fire Comey. The Question Comes: Who’s Next?

Written by John Feehery

Donald Trump had every Constitutional right to fire James Comey if he thought he wasn’t doing a good job.

Comey himself said that in his resignation letter.

Trump had the right to fire him for any reason.  He could fire him if he didn’t like the tie he wore to a Committee hearing.  He could fire him for putting ketchup on a hot dog.  He could fire him if he perceived he wasn’t loyal to him.  Or he could fire him for incompetence.

Under the law, Donald Trump had the power to fire James Comey.

The question is not about the legality of the action.

This firing has not sparked a Constitutional crisis.

This is not Watergate.  This is not some battle of Executive Authority.  This is not a return to the missing tapes.  This is not Rosemary Woods nor H.R Haldeman or Deep Throat.  This will not inspire a movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford.

The media has to take a deep breath and get a hold of itself.

They are making fools out of themselves.

Now, did Trump and his team handle this episode very well?

No, of course not.

You can’t keep the Communications team in the dark about a major event like this and then expect them to magically spin a good result.

If you don’t trust your team to keep them in the know throughout the process, you better get a new team.

But don’t blame Sean Spicer for the public relations disaster that has ensued.

This is all on the President.

Now, did Donald Trump fire James Comey because he was going to uncover that Vladimir Putin somehow conspired with Roger Stone to win the election for the Republican candidate?

I doubt it.

Did Trump fire Comey because he lost faith in Comey and because Comey lost faith in Trump, and because Comey was not going to stop investigating Russia’s many connections with Members of the Trump team and that increased the animosity between them.

Well, that’s probably more likely.

James Comey hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory as FBI Director.

His performance during the Presidential election was an embarrassment.  I think Trump would have beaten Hillary Clinton no matter what Comey did or didn’t do, but by injecting himself so forcefully in the middle of the campaign, he undermined the integrity of the election and of the FBI.

The chief proponent of firing Comey before Trump actually did it was Maxine Water, the firebrand leftwing liberal from California.  Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, has similarly questioned the former FBI Director’s competence and judgement.

The question isn’t now about why Trump fired Comey.  The question now is who does he hire to replace him.

It would be good to have a candidate who has an impeccable reputation as a fair-minded prosecutor, who will stick to the knitting of putting bad guys in jail and otherwise stay out of Presidential campaigns.  And it would be good to have somebody who will get through the Senate in a bipartisan vote.

Kelly Ayotte, the former New Hampshire Senator and sometimes Trump critic, would be my choice.

If Trump appoints Ayotte, this story all goes away.

That’s my prediction.

 

John Feehery is President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Washington, D.C.’s top public affairs firm. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a columnist for The Hill and contributes regularly to Political Storm.

About the author

John Feehery

John Feehery is President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Washington, D.C.’s top public affairs firm. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a columnist for The Hill.

Feehery has worked for almost two decades in a variety of influential positions both as a staffer for three prominent members of the United States House of Representatives Republican leadership and a legislative strategist in the private sector.

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