A page from Comey’s memoWashington is in disarray after former FBI director James Comey, who was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump, claimed he was sacked for being “disloyal” in his pursuit of an independent federal investigation into the ties between Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
If Comey’s accounts turn out to be true, Trump may potentially have committed a federal crime or an impeachable offense for meddling in a federal investigation and obstructing justice.
According to Comey’s written statements ahead of his due appearance before the Senate intelligence committee, Trump asked that the former FBI chief end an investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his connection with Russian officials. A law enforcement office in a democratic state has the role of upholding justice in society through its independent investigative authority.
An active U.S. president ordering around the chief of the federal investigation bureau and attempting to wield influence over him is unthinkable. It won’t be a surprise if the U.S. Congress embarks on a path to impeachment following such undemocratic behavior. The president’s future is cloudy, as more bombshell revelations may be revealed during the hearing.
Trump, however, cannot be immediately removed because serious allegations have been reported against him and an impeachment process could take at least two years. For instance, the impeachment process following the revelations about the Watergate scandal took two years before President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 just before the ruling. We are interested in the incident not just because of the possibility of Trump’s impeachment less than half a year in office, but also because of the way the former FBI chief takes a stand against a strong president.
The scene is foreign to our eyes, which are used to seeing prosecutors and tax authorities easily succumb to ruling powers. It is why our state prosecution has come under fire and is the target of reform by the new administration. We hope our state supervisory authorities learn a lesson from the affairs in the United States and endeavor to restore their integrity and independence to ensure and uphold justice in our society.
JoongAng Ilbo, June 9, Page 34