Democrats and Progressives slammed President Donald Trump’s dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey as “Nixonian,” leading the Nixon Presidential Library to remind everyone that the former president didn’t fire a director of the FBI in a tweet Wednesday morning.
Congressional Democrats compared Trump’s decision to fire FBI director Comey to former President Richard Nixon’s firing of special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in June of 1972. Cox was appointed to investigate the Republican Party’s alleged tied to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in the Watergate Hotel.
“This is Nixonian,” Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said Tuesday evening. “Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.”
Sens. Cory Booker and Dianne Feinstein also slammed Trump’s decision to fire Comey. “Now it’s even more important that an independent special counsel is appointed to investigate the Russian interference in our elections,” Booker said Tuesday.
But as the Nixon library noted in a tweet, Cox was not the director of the FBI.
— RichardNixonLibrary (@NixonLibrary) May 9, 2017
Nixon had demanded that Attorney General Richardson fire Cox, but he refused and resigned. The Republican president then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Rucheshaus to fire the special prosecutor. He also refused and resigned. Nixon eventually fired Cox himself.
The only president in history to fire a sitting director of the FBI is former president Bill Clinton. Clinton fired William Sessions from the FBI after he refused to voluntarily step down amid ethical concerns. President Ronald Reagan appointed Sessions, but the director came under investigation with the Justice Department for engaging in a “sham transaction” where he attempted to avoid paying taxes on his use of an FBI limousine and billed the government for a private security fence around his home.
“We cannot have a leadership vacuum at an agency as important to the United States as the FBI,” Clinton said at the time. “It is time that this difficult chapter in the agency’s history is brought to a close.”
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