Comey's firing was Trump's nuclear option on Russia probe

Roundup
tags: Russia, Watergate, Nixon, James Comey, Trump



Julian Zelizer, a history and public affairs professor at Princeton University and a New America fellow, is the author of "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." He's co-host of the "Politics & Polls" podcast. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

President Trump dropped a bombshell Tuesday with the announcement that he had fired FBI Director James Comey -- just days after Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about, among other things, the bureau's investigation into Russian meddling in the election that propelled Trump to the presidency. 

Trump has stunned the political world once again by issuing the orders to remove one of the most important figures in this entire investigation. 

Ironically, the announcement comes at a time when former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been telling audiences that Comey was a key factor behind her loss in November. His infamous announcement in late October that the FBI was looking into new emails revived the specter of the earlier probe into Clinton's emails just before voters went to the polls. Many experts agree that the announcement cost her points with voters.

But then Comey turned into a problem for President Trump. The Russia investigation has hung over Trump like a dark cloud since his first days in office. Even as congressional committees have stumbled over partisanship in their own probes of Russia's interference, the FBI seems to have been driving forward at an aggressive pace, continuing to give strong indications about evidence that Trump campaign officials were in contact with Russian officials during the campaign. 

While Trump has continually denied any collusion and has lobbed accusations of his own, the FBI appears to have been keeping its eye on the ball. ...




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