By Logan Barrett
With the former FBI Director testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, you might ask yourself, “What’s next?” From the left’s perspective, James Comey’s testimony offered a brutal blow to the Trump administration and left little for Trump’s lawyers to use. The silver lining for the president, though, is the repeated fact that he personally isn’t under investigation. In response, the left argues that Comey only testified there wasn’t an investigation into the president during his tenure and that, hypothetically, there could be an ongoing investigation into the president now that Comey is unaware of. As we only have each man’s word to go by, public interpretation at present is pretty biased.
The Comey situation has lead to a great deal of debate over much authority the president has over the FBI. There is more than one way to interpret the checks and balances of our government. Some subscribe to the unitary theory of the executive branch. Alan Dershowitz explains that in “the unitary theory of the executive, the President has a right to direct the Justice Department and the right to direct the FBI what to do”. If we were to follow this theory, Nixon would have gotten away with his crimes by simply telling the FBI to stop investigating the Watergate incident. Most people would agree though that giving the president complete control over the entire bureaucracy is too much power and would lead to a more authoritarian style of government. In fact, many academics believe the bureaucracy has grown into its own branch of government and that it should have checks and balances on the other branches.
So, if the president doesn’t have the power to direct the Justice Department and FBI, then likely Trump’s request that Comey end the Flynn investigation was wrong. We do not know, however, the true motive behind Trump’s conversation with Comey. Was he asking for Comey’s complete loyalty in the situation, or was he was simply speaking casually? Currently, we only have a testimony from one side of the situation. Comey repeatedly affirmed his desire to keep the FBI independent from the president, and in Comey’s opinion, Trump sought to break this independence.
Comey went on to testify that he shared his memos on Trump with other top law enforcement officials and personal friends, meaning we now need those individuals to step forward and testify. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 13th, and I’m interesting to see if he corroborates Comey’s statements. According to Comey, the FBI director asked Sessions not to leave him alone with the president again. We’ll soon find out Session’s take on the situation. I’m sure Session’s will also be questioned about his conversations with the president, whether or not Trump made any requests for loyalty, and if statements were made regarding putting an end to the Flynn investigation.
President Trump has also offered to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is seen by some as a risky decision. Trump has a history of speaking off the cuff, which could certainly get him in trouble should he misspeak on the stand. If Trump is caught lying, he could be found guilty of perjury. However, if Trump’s story is accurate, his testifying could put an end to all the investigations. I would caution the president to be mindful of his statements. If Trump is caught in a lie, it could mean the end of his presidency, and if Sessions, Trump, and Comey’s testimonies don’t line up, one of them could end up in prison.
Congress is unfortunately extremely divided. In order to get a fair outcome, each member must be willing to put his or her partisan issues aside. In truth, most American’s only care about the issues that affect them personally, like college affordability, proper GDP growth, cutting the national debt, and helping out our veterans. Most people are tired of the Russia scandals and would like to see the administration move on and implement the changes promised on the campaign trail.
Going forward, the White House cannot afford to make any more “rookie” mistakes. Whether the administration is guilty of the accusations or not, they have a habit of misspeaking and misremembering that makes them appear suspicious. If the president wants these scandals to go away, he needs to spend more time in the Oval Office and less time on the putting green. If the administration holds more press conferences and actually answers questions about the investigations, perhaps they can put this whole fiasco behind them. We voted for a president that works for the little guy. Trump needs to stop contradicting himself and work with congress to get stuff done. It’s time for Trump to come forward, once and for all, and testify before Congress and the American people so we can put this mess behind us.
About the Author: Logan is an intern at Reid Law Firm a rising senior at Auburn University majoring in Public Relations with minors in Business and Political Science. Logan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Chris Reid or the Reid Law Firm
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