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May 10, 2017

President Trump fires FBI director James Comey

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  • In a surprise move, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday after receiving recommendations from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  • The firing appears to center around Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails. In July 2016, Comey held a press conference announcing the FBI had found nothing illegal on Clinton’s part, while also criticizing her for using a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
  • The FBI later reopened the investigation in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, drawing criticism from Democrats who accused Comey of trying to influence the election.
  • Reactions to Comey’s firing tended to fall along party lines. Democratic lawmakers expressed concern that Comey’s firing comes at the same time that the FBI is conducting an investigation into possible inappropriate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. They have repeatedly asked for an independent prosecutor into the matter.
  • Most Republican lawmakers said they do not believe Comey’s firing will affect the investigation and that Trump has the legal authority to remove Comey from his position as he sees fit.

  1. Essential question: In a democracy, why is it important for the public to have trust in their elected or appointed officials?
  2. Why do some Democrats feel that Comey’s involvement with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russia’s potential connections with the Trump campaign played into his firing?
  3. Should President Trump have fired James Comey? Why or why not?
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