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Photo credit: Creative Commons Rich Girard.
Photo credit: Creative Commons Rich Girard.

Trump, the FBI, and the threat of ‘tyranny’

FBI Directors alleged failure to pledge loyalty to Trump, in line with FBI standards. 

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The confusion surrounding the dismissal of the former FBI Director James B. Comey has included reports that President Trump had requested Comey’s loyalty at the dinner that Trump referred to in his recent interview.

Reports from the Washington Post included statements that Trump “had long questioned Comey’s loyalty and judgment” and Jake Tapper of CNN stated that a source close to Comey failure to provide “any assurance of personal loyalty” to the President was one of the reasons he was fired.

Reports from the Washington Post state that at the dinner, Comey stated he could promise honesty but not allegiance in the political sense.

But citing the FBI’s website, Comey’s alleged denial to oblige the President’s request for total dedication is exactly what is required of him by the agency. The agency website stated that, “It is significant that we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity. This is true for the simple reason that the Constitution is based on lasting principles of sound government that provide balance, stability, and consistency through time. A government based on individuals — who are inconsistent, fallible, and often prone to error — too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other. The founding fathers sought to avoid these extremes and create a balanced government based on constitutional principles.

The American colonists were all too familiar with the harmful effects of unbalanced government and oaths to individual rulers. For example, the English were required to swear loyalty to the crown, and many of the early colonial documents commanded oaths of allegiance to the king.”

Former FBI Special Agent James Gagliano told the Washington Post that questioning Comey’s integrity was completely unfounded.

A government based on individuals — who are inconsistent, fallible, and often prone to error — too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other. The founding fathers sought to avoid these extremes and create a balanced government based on constitutional principles.

"You've got a man like James B. Comey whose probity is legion, and you contrast that with the president, whose moral turpitude was on full display during the campaign, as well as in the past," Gagliano said on CNN's "New Day."

And with Comey’s record of infallible integrity and dedication to the mission of the FBI within the agency, his replacement leaves many questioning not only how the investigation will be impacted by his removal but also how the direction of the FBI will be impacted.

The agency, comprised of roughly 35,000 people, may change the priority and manpower directed to certain missions with the change according to reports from Vice News.

Though the FBI director is subordinate to the Department of Justice, he is a guide of the organization.  But one key factor is that the FBI director cannot switch priorities or determine the budget (abilities that are left to Congress to decide), which is why the request from Comey for more resources for the Russian investigation has been highlighted since his removal from the position.

In the coming weeks, Trump’s newly appointed FBI director will lead the organization on policies and areas of investigation as they currently stand which are:

Fighting terrorism

Protecting the U.S. from foreign intelligence operations and espionage

Protecting the U.S. from cyber attacks

Combating public corruption “at all times.” 

Protecting civil rights, including fighting hate crimes

Fighting criminal organizations and enterprises, like transnational drug cartels

Fighting white collar crime

Fighting “significant violent crime”

Supporting federal, state and municipal authorities in their law enforcement activity

Ensuring that the FBI has the most up-to-date technology available

Sources told VICE News that, “Trump’s priority is to shut down the investigation,” said William Yeomans, who spent 26 years at the DOJ, in positions including deputy assistant attorney general, chief of staff, and acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “Whoever comes in will have the authority to re-adjust resources and to make decisions that can undermine the investigation. The FBI director has some authority to do that.”

Though appointed by Trump, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday on how Comey’s absence would transform the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

He stated that Come had received “broad support” within the FBI community, a statement that was supported by other previous staff members that VICE news spoke with.

Any communication on the investigation going forward will be between the acting or appointed FBI Director and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, the author of the memo calling for Comey’s firing and the only person able to appoint a special prosecutor to the investigation, as requested by many democrats this week.

 
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