To The Editor:

If Barack Obama had fired James Comey during the Clinton email investigation, he would have been pilloried by the GOP – and rightly so. Such an act would have been seen as an attempt to circumvent an active investigation and aid Hillary Clinton.

Use a little logic in analyzing this: Part of the reason given for Comey’s firing was his poor handling of the Clinton investigation. Based on that reasoning, Obama would have had cause to dismiss Comey, but he did not do so. Obama had nothing to lose. He was a second-term, lame duck president. 

He did the right thing by allowing Comey to do his job. Comey’s handling was, in fact, open to criticism and second-guessing, but the president’s hands-off approach allowed the FBI to proceed independent of any pressure from the White House.

Donald J. Trump, on the other hand, has fired the man leading an active investigation of members of the president’s campaign and administration (and perhaps the president himself). Comey’s real downfall (and Sally Yates’ as well) may have been his independence and willingness to contradict the president in his testimony before Congress.

The separation of powers granted by our Constitution is great in theory as it prevents one branch from usurping all authority. However, the president’s actions while in office appear to be a clear attempt to consolidate power in the executive branch. 

From the constant insults and dismissal of the media with the fake news tagline to his criticisms of the judiciary, the president’s actions have taken on the hue of those ascribed to authoritarian leaders. 

Terminating Director Comey is an especially egregious act of quashing dissent. “Nixonian” is an apt descriptor.

Whether or not you believe the president and/or his campaign were complicit in Russia’s attempts to influence the election, the attempt itself warrants a full, independent investigation to ensure the integrity of our elections. In addition, Congress and the courts need to step up and put the country ahead of politics to ensure overreaching actions of the executive branch do not compromise the principles of our nation.