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Should Obama fire James Comey (after the election of course)

 
 
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 08:08 am
There is an interesting argument among left-leaning inhabitants of the interwebs.

1) Comey clearly screwed up by publishing a vague letter of innuendo with no real details 11 days before an election. This could have been due to incompetence, bowing to partisan political pressure of (worst of all) using his position to influence the election. Any of these reasons would be grounds to let him go.

2) Firing Comey based on his actions (however wrong they were) during the election could be viewed a retribution and set a precedent for firing public officials who don't support you. There is an argument that "They go low, we go high" should mean something.

Of course, if you are a right-leaning partisan, you are going to think that Comey's vague innuendos right before the election were super-awesome and that Obama should be jailing Hillary.... and you are welcome to your opinion. And, you can express it here. The question I am asking starts with the assumption that what Comey did was somewhere between incompetent and sleazy. If can't accept this premise (at least for the purpose of discussion here) I probably won't engage you much.

I am mainly asking my left-leaning brethren... should Obama fire Comey, thus cleaning the slate for Hillary?
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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 2,774 • Replies: 57

 
giujohn
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 08:54 am
The president can only fire the director for cause; he may ask him for his resignation. Violating some nebulous interdepartmental policy is not cause. The director can justify his action by stating that if he had not made that announcement there would have been a mass resignation of special agents and possibly some of them would have gone to the press and disclosed more of an ongoing investigation than need be.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 09:23 am
@maxdancona,
No. I don't think Comey meant to influence the election. He's in an impossible position is all.
revelette2
 
  5  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 09:30 am
@maporsche,
Quote:
He's in an impossible position is all.


No he isn't. There are traditions, rules and protocols for him to have fallen back on and he chose to ignore everyone one of them. I don't think Obama should fire anyone, but I do think Clinton, should she win, should pick another director for the FBI since Comey made such an irresponsible choice which experts on all sides of politics have agreed upon.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 09:39 am
I do have to wonder how it would look if he held it until after the election.
Which looks worse? IDK..
revelette2
 
  4  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 09:54 am
@Leadfoot,
It doesn't matter, there are protocols, he should have followed them to avoid influencing the election on incomplete information. Funny he didn't find himself in the same quandary on other issues they are investigating which he said could influence the election, such Trump's campaign ties to Russia and Russia ties to WikiLeaks....
giujohn
 
  0  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 09:56 am
@revelette2,
She can't pick another director he has a 10-year term he can only be removed for cause either by the president or congress I say again for cause.
revelette2
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 09:59 am
@giujohn,
I think it wouldn't be too hard to find cause should she choose to do it.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 10:02 am
@revelette2,
You may be right about protocols but for better or worse, 'how it looks' is WAY more important to the American people.

FWIW, the last I heard from credible reports (NPR and Snopes), there was no evidence of Trump tie to Russian hacks, etc. Lots of business ties though.
giujohn
 
  0  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 10:05 am
@revelette2,
At this point it would have to rise to the level of official misconduct or high crimes or misdemeanors as would be required for Congress to impeach
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  5  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 10:28 am
@giujohn,
I think the FBI Director serves at the pleasure of the president and can be removed for any cause. Do you have some other source that says otherwise?

Congressional Research Service wrote:
The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The statutory basis for the present nomination and confirmation process was developed in 1968 and 1976, and has been used since the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972. Over this time, seven nominations have been confirmed and two have been withdrawn by the President before confirmation. The position of FBI Director has a fixed 10-year term, and the officeholder cannot be reappointed, unless Congress acts to allow a second appointment of the incumbent. There are no statutory conditions on the President’s authority to remove the FBI Director. Since 1972, one Director has been removed by the President.


http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41850.pdf

It seems clear to me that the President has the legal authority to fire the FBI director. This question is a political one, not a constitutional one.
giujohn
 
  0  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 10:39 am
@maxdancona,
The president can fire the director but it has to be for adequate cause such as official misconduct or malfeasance in office to do otherwise would be political suicide for the Democratic Party. Congress can can also remove an FBI director by impeachment. Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says that any civil officer can be removed if the Senate convicts him of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” A two-thirds vote is required for conviction.
revelette2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 10:48 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
Trump's campaign ties to Russia and Russia ties to WikiLeaks....


I kind of worded my sentence sloppy but I didn't intend to say Trump was connected to WikiLeaks. I was referring to two separate issue in the run on sentence of mine.

I don't believe it is the FBI job to worry about how things looks to the American people but rather to be ethical, and Comey wasn't being ethical.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 10:51 am
@giujohn,
giujohn wrote:

She can't pick another director he has a 10-year term he can only be removed for cause either by the president or congress I say again for cause.


http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-prakash-bamzai-how-independent-is-the-fbi-director-20161102-story.html

Quote:
The Constitution says Comey, like all FBI directors, is something like an “at will” employee.


Quote:
That’s how the provision’s chief congressional sponsor, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), understood the statute when the 10-year term was enacted in 1976. He observed that it imposed “no limitation on the constitutional power of the president,” who can remove the FBI director “at any time, and for any reason that the president sees fit.” And it’s how the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently interpreted the statute. The court said (albeit in passing in a decision on another issue) that, under Supreme Court precedent “such tenure provisions do not prevent the president from removing at will a director at any time during the director’s tenure.”

Byrd’s understanding, and the Court of Appeals’, is based on the constitutional principle, derived from Article II, Section 1, that the president supervises the executive branch of the government


Quote:
The president’s power in this regard is not a mere legal technicality but rather a central part of our constitutional framework. Every four years, the nation elects a chief executive, based on his or her platform, which may include promises about how the executive branch will direct its limited law enforcement resources. Those elections and promises would be a meaningless charade if an incoming president could not remove subordinates who refused to carry out the platform chosen by the people.


__________

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Sessions

Quote:
Although Sessions denied that he had acted improperly, he was pressured to resign in early July, with some suggesting that President Clinton was giving Sessions the chance to step down in a dignified manner. Sessions refused, saying that he had done nothing wrong, and insisted on staying in office until his successor was confirmed. As a result, President Clinton dismissed Sessions on July 19, 1993. Sessions was five and a half years into a ten-year term as FBI director; however, the holder of this post serves at the pleasure of the President.[7]


________

http://heavy.com/news/2016/10/james-comey-fired-fbi-director-hillary-clinton-email-private-server-influence-election/

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2002/06/how_do_you_dump_the_fbi_director.html

http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2016/10/how-independent-is-the-fbis-director/

Quote:
It is sometimes assumed that the President can oust an FBI director only “for cause” – that is, for some misconduct in office. But, as a Congressional Research Service study of the director’s office pointed out two years ago, “there are no statutory conditions on the President’s authority to remove the FBI director.”

The constitutional reality is that, if a government official is clearly placed within the Executive Branch, that official serves at the pleasure of the President, and can be fired “at will.” That history has had a recent illustration: earlier this month, the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., struck down part of a law by which Congress created a single director to lead the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – a law that specified that the director could be removed by the President only “for cause.”

The appeals court simply deleted that phrase from the law, thus making the agency’s head subject to being fired by the President for any reason, or no reason at all.



0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  4  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 11:37 am
@giujohn,
The charge would be using his position to gain political advantage in a presidential election. This counts as official misconduct and malfeasance in office in my book. We may disagree about whether this is what Comey did... but if you believed that he did intend to sway the election, wouldn't you agree that this is malfeasance?

I doubt it would be political suicide. My side would cheer (mostly) your side would scream bloody murder (mostly)... in short; nothing would be any different.

roger
 
  4  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 11:58 am
@maxdancona,
Harry Reid thinks the disclosure of the investigation violates the Hatch Act.
giujohn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 02:18 pm
@roger,
As a federal employee I am quite familiar with the Hatch Act we are required to review it in training once a year. It provides that a federal employee not engage in pernicious political activity. Violation of the Hatch Act is investigated by the office of special counsel which I am intimately familiar with as I'm a federal whistleblower. What comey did doesn't even come close to violating the Hatch Act. Harry Reid is just blowing smoke up your ass per his usual line of lying bullshit. And if for some wild reason the office of special counsel recommended that he did violate it I doubt seriously if they would take any action against him as they rarely have in the few cases they have investigated in the past.
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 02:39 pm
@giujohn,
The president has the discretion to fire James Comey, no office of special counsel needed. Whether or not there would be political consequences is part of the topic of this thread. But I don't think it is in doubt that the president has the ability to do this.

giujohn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 02:47 pm
@maxdancona,
The reference to the office of special counsel was in relation to the Hatch Act that is being brought up by Harry Reid it is pathetic attempt to intimidate James Comey
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2016 05:02 pm
@revelette2,
Quote:
I don't believe it is the FBI job to worry about how things looks to the American people but rather to be ethical,
I only wish that being ethical was what politicians and appointees worried about. That is so far from the reality that it is almost irrelevant. I'm not happy about it but - there it is.
0 Replies
 
 

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