New York Times editorial: Comey fired because of 'investigation that could bring down a president'

New York Times editorial: Comey fired because of 'investigation that could bring down a president'
© Greg Nash

The New York Times in an editorial Wednesday said FBI Director James Comey was fired Tuesday because he was leading an investigation that could "bring down the president."

The editorial board said that by firing Comey, President Trump has "cast grave doubt on the viability of any further investigation into what could be one of the biggest political scandals in the country's history."

The editors dismissed the president's explanation for the firing and pointed to his past praise of the former FBI director.

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"Of course, if Mr. Trump truly believed, as he said in his letter of dismissal, that Mr. Comey had undermined 'public trust and confidence' in the agency, he could just as well have fired him on his first day in office," the editorial said.

"Mr. Comey was fired because he was leading an active investigation that could bring down a president. Though compromised by his own poor judgment, Mr. Comey’s agency has been pursuing ties between the Russian government and Mr. Trump and his associates, with potentially ruinous consequences for the administration."

The Times editorial board said the FBI is conducting the only "aggressive effort" into any ties between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Now, the need for a special prosecutor is "plainer than ever," the editorial board said.

The president has "decisively crippled the F.B.I.’s ability to carry out an investigation of him and his associates," the editorial board said.

"There is no guarantee that Mr. Comey’s replacement, who will be chosen by Mr. Trump, will continue that investigation; in fact, there are already hints to the contrary."

The editorial board then invoked Watergate, a scandal that began to unfold when former President Richard Nixon ordered the firing of a special prosecutor.
 
"But now, there is no special prosecutor in place to determine whether the public trust has been violated, and whether the presidency was effectively stolen by a hostile foreign power," the board said. "For that reason, the country has reached an even more perilous moment."
 
The president on Tuesday fired Comey, the man who had been leading the investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
 
The dismissal came in a signed letter from Trump to Comey that said it was time for a "new beginning" at the nation's "crown jewel of law enforcement."

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to lead the Bureau,” Trump wrote.

The move sent the political world into a frenzy, sparking outrage from Democrats, who said Trump was attempting to shut down the FBI’s investigation.