President Donald Trump’s sudden dismissal of FBI Director James Comey stunned politicians and pundits across the political spectrum. Critics say the move is at best ill-timed and suspicious, at worst despotic and even criminal, given the FBI’s current probe into possible ties between Russian operatives and Trump’s campaign. Some conservatives point out that Democrats were demanding last year that Comey be fired. Whether you think Comey’s firing is a Nixon-like attempt to cover up a scandal, or something President Trump should have done his first week in office, here is a collection of reactions from the political world.
10. “In firing FBI director James Comey, the 45th President of the United States may well have set in motion a series of events that could lead to more controversy and potentially even his impeachment less than a year after being sworn into office.”
— CNN legal analyst Paul Callan
9. “Today’s actions reek of a cover up and appear to be part of an ongoing effort by the Trump White House to impede the investigation into Russian ties and interference in our elections.”
— John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.
8. “If that was so offensive to the Trump administration, (what) you would have done during the transition is you would have spoken to Comey and said, ‘We’re going to let you go.’ … To fire him summarily in the middle of May for something that happened in July is inexplicable.”
— Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, adding that Trump’s excuse to fire Comey based on his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail almost a year earlier is “implausible.”
7. “Liberals demanded Obama fire Comey before leaving the White House. He didn’t. Now that Trump has, they’re outraged. Exhausting.”
— Tweet by conservative columnist Katie Pavlich
6. “TO HELL WITH YOU, YOU MOTHER******* TRAITOR.”
— A tweet by political commentator Keith Olbermann. To say that most liberals were outraged by Trump’s move is a huge understatement.
5. “Comey firing is a red herring to distract from the fact that Trump hasn’t started building the wall.”
— Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, referencing the fact that Congress recently funded the government through September, but did not include $20 billion in funding for Trump’s pet project, a U.S./Mexican border wall.
4. “I have found Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by our Committee.”
— Statement by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
3. “Just a few months ago, Democrats were calling for the FBI director’s head on a platter. They blamed him for Hillary Clinton’s failed run at the White House. But now — those same Democrats have become Mr. Comey’s strongest defenders — mainly because of their unhinged hatred of the president. In other words, it’s a classic case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
— Conservative commentator Todd Starnes, who added, “The cold hard fact is Mr. Comey was just not very good at his job. James Comey was more of a Barney Fife than he was a Columbo.”
2. “On Tuesday evening, Donald Trump acted like a despot. … It amounts to a premeditated and terrifying attack on the American system of government. Quite possibly, it will usher in a constitutional crisis. Even if it doesn’t, it represents the most unnerving turn yet in what is a uniquely unnerving Presidency.”
— The New Yorker writer John Cassidy
1. “Make enough enemies in Washington, and your career lifespan can shrink to that of a mayfly. A generous view would say that Mr. Comey navigated treacherous waters as best he could in an era where political disputes are increasingly criminalised. Another take is that he sank in a ship that he himself had riddled with holes.”
— BBC reporter Anthony Zurcher