Firing of James Comey raises concern and questions among students

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Firing of James Comey raises concern and questions among students

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By Tori Lubin ’18 & Margot Mather ’17

FBI Director and former Westport resident James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, May 9, in the midst of Comey’s investigation of the Trump administration’s potential involvement in Russia’s hacking of the 2016 campaign.

Trump explained Comey’s sudden dismissal as a result of the former FBI director’s mishandling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation by releasing new information days before the election, potentially skewing undecided voters in favor of Trump. Trump publicly praised Comey’s actions at the time of the release in October, stating that Comey had “guts” for resuming the Clinton e-mail investigation and that Comey was “very very good” to Clinton.

Such a contentious political move of removing the Obama-appointed bureaucrat became a cause for discussion among many AP Government and Politics classes, including those taught by Eric Mongirdas.

“I brought it up today because it is very relevant to our AP Gov curriculum and is the current event news topic of the day,” Mongirdas said. “I wanted to see how students viewed the actions of the Comey firing as compared to the Saturday Night Massacre.”

Mongirdas’ class discussion entertained comparing Nixon’s’ Watergate scandal firings, known as the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ to that of Trump’s possible collusions with Russia during the election season.

“Very few students believed the Comey firing to be the smoking gun. But, it was interesting to hear all of the different perspectives, ” Mongirdas said about his students’ reactions.

The precarious timing of the firing raises questions about Trump’s motivation for removing the FBI director, considering that Comey was in the thick of leading an investigation into the Trump’s administration relationship with Russia at the time of his firing.

“I think that Trump fired Comey because he didn’t like that Comey was finding ties between him and Russia,” Theo Koskoff ’18 said.

However, Trump has profusely denied claims that the Russian inquiry impacted his decision about discharging Comey on Twitter, saying that Comey “will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job” and blaming democrats for “complaining for months & months about Dir. Comey” and now being “phony hypocrites.”

One AP Government student, Spencer Daniels ’17 agreed with Trump’s explanation, stating that  “sometimes people get fired. It doesn’t always mean a conspiracy theory and Trump won the election and everyone needs to get over that.”

Democrats have called for a special counsel to conduct the Russian inquiry, since Comey will no longer be able to head the investigation.

Comey’s Westport house on Westway Road is currently on the market for sale.

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