The Comey Catastrophe

In the fall of 1972, news of the Watergate affair had begun to circulate in the midsts of mainstream media. The catalyst for Nixon’s resignation involved numerous burglars were caught while attempting to bug the Watergate building, the seat of the Democratic National Committee. The break-in was orchestrated by Nixon’s campaign committee, the CRP. The White House’s involvement was unearthed after two journalists from The Washington Post had discovered one of the men arrested for the crime to possess a security contract with the Republican National Committee. A letter by this man, James McCord, was sent to the commission which had been temporarily established to look into the case, stating that he wanted to ‘disclose knowledge of the facts in this matter’. The former White House aide, Alexander Butterfield, testified before the Watergate Committee concerning the existence of so-called ‘White House Tapes’, which recorded Nixon’s activities. By obtaining access to these tapes, it was revealed through a conversation between Nixon and his Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman that his administration was prompted to use the CIA to halt the FBI’s investigation into Watergate. Within days, Nixon had resigned.

Many are rightfully seeing the parallels between Watergate and the firing of FBI-director James Comey on May 9th. Days before he was fired, Comey asked the Justice Department for an increase in money and personnel for his bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference with the presidential elections. President Trump dismissed his from his position on the grounds of his enquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the President himself benefitted from those revelations and praised Mr Comey for his bravery. At the time of the announcement, Trump said he does not understand why there was an outrage from the Democrats and a calling for Comey’s dismissal. However it is worth mentioning that no one at the time fully comprehended why Mr Comey decided to go public about the Clinton investigation, but not about the FBI’s simultaneously investigation into Trump.

Like during Watergate, the whole affair originated with the accusation of a break-in, first with the DNC and now with the alleged hacking of Mrs Clinton’s emails by Russian agents. Like Nixon, Trump maintains little regard towards the other branches of government, preferring a more emperor-like rule. However while some may be keen to see this as Trump’s ‘smoking gun’ which will end his presidency, hopes should not be quite as high just yet. There are well enough allegations concerning the Russian hacking, but considerably less concrete evidence which could be used against the administration. There is little proof that even if the hacking did occur, it had a significant effect on voters’ decisions, who likely had no idea about what such intervention would entail.

Either way, Mr Comey is the third White House representative to be fired after Sally Yates and Michael Flynn, and we can only sit by and watch whether, or more likely when, their numbers will increase.

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