//  5/9/17  //  Quick Reactions

The President has fired FBI director James Comey.  The White House has released the letter that memorializes the action.  In the letter, the President says that he "concur[s] with the judgment of the Department of Justice" that Comey be terminated.  The White House attached a letter from Attorney General Sessions stating the recommendation that Comey be fired; this letter did not get into specifics. 

The White House also attached a three-page memo from Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein detailing the grounds for the recommendation: the mishandling of the Hillary Clinton investigation. 

The focus of Rosenstein's criticism is on the decision last October, in the midst of the presidential election campaign, to announce that the FBI was re-opening its investigation of Secretary Clinton.  (The letter also makes passing reference to Comey's announcement that no prosecution would be warranted -- a decision that is normally left to prosecutors not the FBI -- and to Comey's subsequent news conference in which he negatively characterized Secretary Clinton's handling of her emails.)  Rosenstein notes that this interference in the election is outside the best traditions of the Department and that this is the judgment made on the record by numerous past Attorneys general and Deputies Attorney General from Administrations of both political parties.

All of this is true enough.  I am sure Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein believes every word he wrote.  I do not believe for one minute, however, that this is the actual reason that Donald Trump is firing James Comey.  After all, the President refuses to accept the bi-partisan consensus that Russia attempted to intervene in the Presidential election and continues to assert that he only lost the popular vote because of illegal voting, despite the utter absence of any evidence.  Why, then, would anyone believe he was motivated to fire Comey out of concern that Comey had harmed Hillary Clinton's electoral prospects?

I confess that I do not know the real reason.  I do enjoy the odd hand of poker, and I can recognize a tell.  In this case, President Trump's letter may contain one.  Before stating his concurrence with the Department of Justice's judgment, President Trump notes that he "greatly appreciate[s] you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation ...."  Why note this if it isn't relevant?

As long as the Deputy Attorney General is writing memos making recommendations, it is time to make a recommendation for the appointment of a special counsel.


Is Trump's Emergency Unconstitutional or 'Merely' Illegal? And Does it Matter?

2/24/19  //  Commentary

And because Trump is a threat to constitutional democracy, the stakes over whether to call his bogus emergency 'merely' unlawful or also unconstitutional are non-trivial.

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

Congressional Oversight Is Not Presidential Harassment

2/21/19  //  In-Depth Analysis

Congress’s power to investigate—a power with deep roots in our nation’s history and precedent—is incredibly broad, and it allows Congress to look into lots of matters that the President would apparently rather remain unexplored

Brianne J. Gorod

Constitutional Accountability Center

Versus Trump: Stop The Wall!

2/21/19  //  Uncategorized

On this week's episode of Versus Trump, Charlie, Jason, and Easha discuss the early lawsuits that seek to stop the new sections of border wall that President Trump authorized through executive action. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens