While official Washington muddles toward finding out the real reasons President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the American Civil Liberties Union is making its own effort to ferret out the truth.
The ACLU today filed a Freedom of Information request (FOIA) with the Justice Department and the FBI seeking all records pertaining to “Trump’s decision to remove Comey from office.”
“White House interference with any FBI investigation is incompatible with democratic safeguards,” the Director of the ACLU National Security Project Hina Shamsi, said in a statement, “and that’s especially the case when the investigation is a recipe for abuse of power.”
“The public has a right to know why Comey was fired so the president can be held accountable for any abuse of his position,” continues Shamsi. “It’s impossible to know the truth right now because the Trump administration has issued shifting explanations, each of which is increasingly troubling.”
The ACLU request seeks an expedited response, a waiver of the copying fees and an order to archive and save all relevant documents and materials.
That is justified, the ACLU says because there is “substantial public interest in the records sought through this request. Given the ongoing and widespread media attention to this issue, the records sought will significantly contribute to public understanding of an issue of profound public importance.”
Comparing what Trump has done to the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, the ACLU said it was acting to protect the constitution.
“As with Nixon,” said the ACLU, “we have the specter of a president using his formal constitutional powers to obstruct an investigation into potential criminal activity connected to the president’s campaign. And like Nixon, Donald Trump’s actions threaten to place the president above the law….They demand a strong response to preserve our constitutional values.”
It may rankle opponent,s but the ACLU has been for generations a determined organization that seeks to shed light in the dark corners of government, business, and society. Trump may want to be an authoritarian who can shut out anyone who disagrees with his extremist and often irrational actions, but as long as there are groups like the ACLU, he is not going to get his way.
Trump may want to be an authoritarian dictator who can shut out anyone who disagrees with his extremist and often irrational actions, but as long as there are groups like the ACLU, he is not going to get his way.