Donald Trump could be impeached over firing of James Comey, says professor who called election

'This is more serious than Watergate'

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Sunday 14 May 2017 15:22 BST
The President's move was the first time an FBI Director had been fired since 1973
The President's move was the first time an FBI Director had been fired since 1973 (AP)

A professor of history who predicted Donald Trump would win the race to the White House, has claimed the firing of James Comey as FBI Director is sufficient to see the President impeached.

Allan Lichtman, who has correctly guessed the outcome of every presidential election since 1984, claimed Mr Trump’s firing of Mr Comey was “more serious than Watergate”.

“He arguably could be impeached now,” Mr Lichtman told Newsweek. “Arguably he’s already obstructed justice and already violated the emoluments clause [regarding receiving gifts from foreign governments]. I’m not saying we should impeach him now, I’m calling for an impeachment investigation.”

Mr Lichtman may have reason for making such claims; he is promoting his latest book, The Case for Impeachment.

“We see credible reporting that he may well be guilty of obstructing justice in the FBI investigation, first by demanding loyalty to him personally from the man investigating him,” he said.

“That’s pretty blatant obstruction of justice. And then by firing director Comey and then in effect lying initially, or having his team lie in his direction, about the reasons for the firing.”

In the aftermath of last week’s firing of Mr Comey, the White House scrambled to provide an explanation for Mr Trump’s actions. Officials sought to protect the President from accusations by Democrats and others, that he had fired him because he was heading the investigation into the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the presidential election.

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White House spokespersons claimed he had been fired because of the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The administration cited memos from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which recommended getting rid of him.

Yet it rapidly became clear, those memos had been hastily provided to provide cover for Mr Trump, who had decided last week to get rid of Mr Comey, Indeed, the President admitted as much himself in an interview with NBC News.

“When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won’,” he said.

Allan Lichtman
Allan Lichtman (Getty)

He called Mr Comey a “showboat” and a “grandstander”.

“Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey,” Mr Trump said.

“The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everyone knows that.”

Mr Trump also claimed Mr Comey assured him on three separate occasions, including once over dinner and on another occasion over a phone call, that he was not personally under investigation.

It has been reported that Mr Trump sought repeated oaths of loyalty from Mr Comey, despite the fact that his role is supposed to be independent and non-partisan. The White House has denied such demands were made.

Sources close to Mr Comey have denied the President’s version of events.

Only two presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives – Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. No president has seen their impeachment approved by the Senate. For Mr Trump to be impeached, Republicans in the House would have to decide to turn on him. Alternatively, if the Republicans lost control of the house in the 2018 midterms, Democrats could lead such a move.

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