Former Bush, Obama WH ethics lawyers call Comey firing ‘worse than breaking a law’
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Two former White House ethics lawyers on Thursday ripped President Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, calling it "worse than breaking a law."

Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer to President Bush, and Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics lawyer to President Obama, teamed up with Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe to pen an op-ed on the firing.

"If President Trump’s shockingly sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey had violated some statute or constitutional provision, our judicial branch could easily have remedied that misstep," the three wrote in the piece.

"What the president did was worse. It was a challenge to the very premises of our system of checks and balances precisely because it violated no mere letter of the law but its essential spirit," the article continued.

Trump abruptly fired Comey on Tuesday, saying in a letter at the time that the ouster was recommended by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But the president contradicted that statement on Thursday, saying that he would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein's recommendation.

The decision has been the subject of backlash and send a shock wave through Washington as many question the timing of Comey's firing.

"At this point, it is exceedingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that the president is seeking to cover up wrongdoing on his own part and/or on the part of various close associates," the op-ed piece said. "The wrongdoing the president is seeking to conceal is nothing minor or of merely tangential relevance to his office but, on the contrary, may involve collaboration with our Russian adversaries in attacking our democracy at its core."