Understanding the Comey Firing: Reactions Across the Political Spectrum


Dylan Lorio-MacNamara

05-10-2017timeline 1

On Tuesday it was announced that President Trump had fired the director of the FBI, James Comey, due to his “mishandling of the Clinton email investigation.” The news broke in the evening, during a speech Comey was giving to FBI recruits in California, which is where he found out; the president did not call or email him, but instead left him to find out through the news. Trump will point out that his office sent a letter to Comey at his D.C. office, but they would have known Comey would not be there, and on top of that, the letter was sent after the news had been released to the press. This story is significant because it follows suit in Trump’s line of firing government officials who were leading investigations into him – Sally Yates, former Attorney General; Preet Bharara, former US Attorney; and now Comey. This chain of events has led many to question whether the president will obey the law, or if the law will obey the president.




Writing for The Atlantic, David Frum explains the suspicious nature of this termination by examining Trump psychologically. Frum posits that Trump’s narcissism cause him to reject any explanations for his victory over Clinton that credit anyone other than himself. He simply cannot understand any reality where he is not in control of everything. Frum goes on to say that he believes this firing is an attack on “the integrity of our defense a foreign cyberattack on the processes of American democracy.” By firing the man in charge of an investigation into him, Trump appears to be trying to sweep the problem under the rug. This is important because it adds to a (seemingly ever-growing) list of grounds for Trump’s impeachment, which Frum makes discusses tangentially; he asks Congress if they can sit idly by while the president attacks the investigative arm of the Justice Department.

The Atlantic is a liberal media outlet, although David Frum is a known conservative, so I think this article is predisposed to be fairly balanced. It definitely calls attention to Trump’s wrongs, and highlights the issue as an assault on American democracy, which one would not expect from conservatives.



Jacob Pramuk details for readers the senate intelligence committee’s questions for acting FBI director Andrew McCabe. The biggest question on everyone’s mind was of course whether Comey’s firing would impact the investigation into Russian collusion with Trump, to which McCabe gave a resounding no. “You cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing,” said McCabe. He also reassured the Senate that he would inform the committee of any political interference, should it occur. Furthermore, he contradicted president Trump’s past statements that Comey had lost support within the FBI, saying Comey had “broad support” within the bureau. Along with the supposed mistrust, Trump cited Comey’s actions in regard to the Clinton email investigation. Unfortunately for Trump, neither of these seem to justify Comey’s termination, at least at this point in time.

CNBC  typically leans left politically, and this article is not unusual. Pramuk does provide evidence from both sides, but his voice is present throughout the piece as anti-Trump.



This article, which was credited only to Fox News, discusses the possible necessity of a special prosecutor in the investigation into Trump’s White House. According to George Mason University’s Jonathon Turley, Trump’s firing of Comey creates major “credibility problems” for the administration, and thus increases the need for a special prosecutor. Turley noted that he had previously not been in favor of a special prosecutor, but this incident changed his mind. He goes on to say that had the termination occurred early on in Trump’s presidency, say in January, he would stand by his previous belief, and that the White House needs to face the facts about the timing of this. It really looks like Trump is trying to shut down the investigation, as he had ramped up his opposition to the investigation in recent weeks. He did express his doubts about the investigation itself, claiming he does not understand what crime Trump may have committed, but the firing was likely not a smart move.

Fox News is known for being one of conservatives’ favorite sources of news, and is a regular supporter of President Trump. However, this article seemed to be more of a centrist perspective. It definitely had traces of the right in there, but it highlighted a lot of Trump’s misgivings as well.



Katie Pavlich compiled a list of tweets and statements made by Democratic politicians, which she claims are hypocritical for expressing disdain for the Comey firing. While the content of the article is about exactly what you’d expect based on the title, as a whole it is a good example of right-wing pundits trying to distract from the real issue. Instead of discussing anything about the situation at hand, Pavlich tries to blame Democrats for Comey’s shortcomings, and create a smokescreen for Trump’s mistakes.

TownHall.com is one of the nations most conservative news outlets, and Pavlich knows exactly who she’s talking to in this article. She does not cover any of the newsworthy aspects of the story, and instead tries to focus on Democrats past actions; this shows a lack of passion for the truth, and lends discredit to her article.



Mallory Shellbourne reports for The Hill that Republicans are distancing themselves from President Trump in the aftermath of Comey’s firing. According to Steve Schmidt, a top Republican strategist, the incident represents an “enormous abuse of power.” He goes on to claim that any Republicans who believes the story about Comey’s mishandling of the Clinton investigation is a fool. He took this one step further, and stated that the country might be better off with a Democratic congress in 2018 in order to protect national security.

While The Hill is known to be fairly centrist, this particular article is incredibly biased against Trump, although that is not because of the author’s viewpoints.



In an interesting twist to the story, Annie Karni and Ali Watkins report that the Justice Department denies Comey’s story that he had requested additional funding for the Trump investigation. PR for the DOJ was adamant that no such request had occurred, and expressed frustration with the claim, stating it is “totally false.” Several other credible sources report that they have no knowledge of the request, either, only furthering the confusion surrounding this incident. The authors also note that the firing came only hours after the DOJ had subpoenaed documents from Michael Flynn, ex national security adviser (none of the other articles I read mentioned this fact).

Politico is known as an objective reporting service, and this article is representative of that. The authors really just present factual evidence of the case, and don’t really get into opinions at all.



This story is important because it represents a turning point in American political history: Congress will either stand up to President Trump’s blatant disregard for procedure and appoint a special prosecutor, or we will continue down the path toward total Trump control. It’s important to remember that the way we all consume information leaves us all vulnerable to fake news and lies that can go viral. Now, more than ever, it’s key that you stay informed of the issues, especially as we all enter the real world after college, because they have real impacts on us. Do your own research, hear both sides of a story, fact check everything. And call your congressmen if you have an opinion! That’s literally how you make your voice heard.


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