Firing of FBI director prompts calls for independent investigation

Some US politicians are linking the decision with the inquiry into Trump’s ties to Russia

Just when you thought the contentious political climate surrounding our neighbours to the south could not get any worse, we find ourselves looking into another Trump scandal.

US President Donald J. Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey last week, citing the unfair treatment of then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton during an investigation into her private emails.  

However, the firing came just a month into the FBI investigation into Russian efforts to disrupt the presidential election, and possible ties between Trump associates and the Russian government.

Trump took to Twitter on May 10 to discuss the “loss of confidence” in Comey, who “[lost] the spirit and prestige of the FBI.

The scandal has added to calls for the need for an independent investigative counsel, separate from the state and free from punitive actions such as those taken against Comey.

Republican Senator John McCain agrees with these calls, according to The New York Times, claiming that he was “disappointed in the president’s decision” and it further encourages the idea “for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.”

As political pundits and concerned citizens alike voice their anxieties regarding the timing and reasoning of this firing, some worry that this impediment to the investigation is contributing to the threat to democracy in the United States.

Parallels to the Nixon Watergate scandal leave many wondering if Trump’s interference with an ongoing investigation is grounds for impeachment, as it erodes many of the checks and balances in place to prevent misuse of power. However, the president claims he and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided together to relinquish Comey of his duties.

Members of the US Senate are voicing their fears about this action, including the democratic vice chairman Mark Warner who said, in an interview with The New York Times, “that means the Senate intelligence investigation has to redouble its efforts, has to speed up its timeline, because we’ve got real questions about the rule of law.”

Barely a week after this firing, Trump’s decision is the subject of much scrutiny, leaving many wondering what this hindrance of the investigation means for Trump, and for the foundation of democracy in the United States.

With files from BBC News, Business Insider, and The New York Times.