President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey raises grave concerns about preserving the rule of law in our nation. Among the many deeply disturbing aspects of this action is that the attorney general played an active role in the decision, in blatant violation of his recusal both in the very matter cited as the reason for the firing (Hillary Clinton’s emails), and in the investigation profoundly impacted by the firing (the Russia collusion investigation).
Sessions and Trump worked together to remove the central player in the FBI’s investigation of the campaign’s (and subsequently, the incoming administration’s) potentially illegal contacts and cooperation with Russia. The parallels to President Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox are clear, and they are ominous.
But since the White House claims that the firing is directly related to the Clinton email investigation, let’s look at that recusal violation first. During the election, Sessions supported and advised Donald Trump’s campaign, which included unsubstantiated accusations of criminal conduct by Clinton relating to her emails and repeated calls to “lock her up.” So when Sessions was nominated to be the chief law enforcement official in the land, it was obvious that his neutrality in any matter relating to Clinton’s emails would be in serious doubt.
In an exchange with Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on the first day of his confirmation hearing, Sessions vowed that he would recuse himself from “any question involving” Clinton’s emails: