US President Donald Trump has been caught in a political storm since he dismissed FBI director James Comey, a decision he said was unrelated to the federal police’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia.
FBI Interim Director Andrew McCabe is scheduled to testify on Thursday before the powerful Senate Intelligence Commission, one of three commissions investigating Russian interference in the US presidential campaign.
Elected representatives of the two parties have been questioning since Tuesday evening about the reasons and the schedule of the dismissal. The opposition suspects the US president wants to hinder an investigation that taints his name and targets some of his relatives.
These investigations, opened last summer, are interested in Russian piracy against the Democratic camp and a possible “coordination” between members of the Trump campaign team and Russia.
The American leader denies any collusion and emphasized in his letter to Mr. Comey that the director had told him that he was not targeting himself.
Despite this mention of the Russian affair, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the sacking had nothing to do with Russia and was due to the “atrocities” and “false steps and mistakes” of the Director during the investigation of the emails of a Democratic candidate to the presidential Hillary Clinton last year.
“He planned to dismiss Director Comey from the day he took office,” she said. “The president has not trusted him for months.”
On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump justified his decision: “He did not do a good job, it’s very simple.”
The argument used to justify the departure of the FBI boss, whose mandate ran until 2023, is amazing.
He is accused of having publicly commented on the Clinton affair during the campaign, contrary to the FBI practice but to the great satisfaction of the Republican candidate at the time. Why, in essence, asks the White House, are the Democrats scandalizing themselves when they themselves denounced Mr. Comey’s behavior?
“Now that he’s fired, they pretend to be unhappy, hypocrites!” Tweeted Donald Trump.
As for Mr. Trump’s turnaround, his spokesman explained that being a candidate was different from being president.
Comey summoned to the Senate
Between MM. Trump and Comey, the divergences had intensified for months, a fortiori in the last days, while the FBI investigation accelerated, according to several media.
In March, the first cop of the United States confirmed to the Congress the existence of the investigation on a possible “coordination” between close relations with Donald Trump and Moscow. He had contradicted Mr. Trump on the tapping of the Trump Tower by former President Barack Obama (2009-2017).
In addition, Mr. Comey would have claimed at the Ministry of Justice last week additional means for the investigation of its agents, according to media reports.
“This would make the sacking schedule even more suspect,” said Chuck Schumer, head of the Senate Democrats.
The Democratic opposition demands the appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation, which the White House has deemed “not necessary”.
While many Republicans support the president, several tenors have expressed embarrassment or discontent, including John McCain or the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr.
The president must now appoint a replacement, which will have to be confirmed by the Senate, where the Democratic minority should struggle hard.
In the meantime, Mr. Comey was also invited to explain next Tuesday, in camera, before the Intelligence Commission.
Senators of the commission also issued a summons on Wednesday for Trump’s former National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, to make available to them all documents that could shed light on any links President Trump with Moscow.
Mr. Flynn was pushed to resign on February 13 after repeated revelations with the Russian ambassador to Washington before and after the election. The Committee of Intelligence notes that it has already been asked to hand over these documents but has not complied.
On the Moscow side, we were distancing ourselves from this affair: the dismissal of the boss of the FBI is an “internal affair” in America, affirmed the Kremlin, saying “hope that it will have no impact” on relations, Between the two countries