Barely four months into his presidency, Donald Trump is facing still another firestorm of controversy. This time, it pertains to his abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. Why he did so depends on who you ask.
President Trump continues to insist his actions in removing Comey were justified, although the reasons he’s given have shifted in the days following the event. As for Comey, he has a different story about why he was fired.
Comey alleges Trump urged him in a private, one-on-one meeting in the White House to “let it go” on investigating Trump’s erstwhile national security advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who, by the way, Trump himself had recently fired. Comey apparently claims Trump pressured him not to pursue the investigation into Flynn’s part in questionable activities involving governments of foreign countries, including Turkey and Russia.
The problem with this two-story version of what really happened in the run up to Comey’s dismissal by Trump is the truth may well lie (pun intended) somewhere between their two contradictory recollections.
Now comes former FBI Director Robert Mueller, just appointed Special Counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Mueller has been empowered with vast investigative and prosecutorial authority to pursue any and all evidence pertaining to Flynn, plus allegations of any Trump campaign operatives in collusion with Russian officials on their efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.
Clearly, this is a tall order for anyone to fill, including the redoubtable Mr. Mueller. However, he comes to the task with impeccable credentials, and hailed by Democratic and Republican leaders alike as the right man at the right time.
By the way, Mueller proved his mettle long ago by standing up for what he believed was the right thing to do. As FBI Director, he staunchly opposed President George W. Bush on his administration’s attempts to legalize warrantless searches and other excesses under the guise of national security. When Mueller threatened to resign, the White House backed down on those attempts -- and rightly so.
I know of nothing in Mueller’s record of legal service, public and private, to suggest he has wavered in his determination to do the right thing. I’m convinced he will use his considerable power and authority to do his duty as Special Counsel, independently, objectively and thoroughly.
President Trump would be wise to cooperate with Mueller, instead of slamming his appointment as “the greatest witch hunt in American history.” Meanwhile, he needs to focus on working with both parties in Congress to achieve his domestic and foreign policy agendas. And as I’ve said before, please, Mr. President, leave the tweeting to “Rockin’ Robin” and others. Surely, you have better things to do and undo.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at email@example.com.