Donald Trump has summarily fired FBI Director James Comey, the man who was leading the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and any connection the Trump campaign may have had to it.
This firing smacks of the authoritarian rule of dictators around the globe, autocrats who dismiss or even persecute those who may provide obstacles to their regimes. We Americans do have recourse: an independent investigation into the Russian meddling.
We have a proud history of constitutional democracy that has been a model for emerging democracies around the world. But, as James Madison warned in the Federalist Papers, No. 47, tyranny may overcome democracy when too much power is concentrated in one branch of our government. The firing of Director Comey and its implications for the Russian inquiry raise questions about the possible use of executive power to stifle inquiry. If the Executive Branch, which has already attacked the Judicial Branch (regarding Muslim immigration), ignores legislative demands for an independent investigation into the Russian campaign interference, we might wonder if our nation is headed toward such tyranny. Our liberty requires the maintenance of the checks and balances that our constitution provides.
I urge citizens of both political parties to defend constitutional democracy, by insisting to senators and congressmen that the Russian interference be independently investigated without threat of reprisal from the Executive Branch. The matter will be laid to rest only when the people are assured that no Americans colluded with the Russians. Let’s get on with the investigation.
Marilyn Keat, State College