In a last-minute effort to save Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House, Barack Obama’s chief adviser, Valerie Jarrett, has urged the president to fire FBI Director James Comey, according to a source close to Jarrett.
Obama and Jarrett are furious with Comey for reopening the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s emails just 11 days before the presidential election. They blame Comey for Hillary’s alarming slide in the polls.
“Valerie argued that Comey was interfering deliberately in the election process and had to be stopped,” the source said. “The president said he was worried about the consequences of taking such an action — the tsunami of outrage that would come his way, and possibly become a major footnote, or worse, in the history of his presidency.
“There is also the real possibility that such an action could backfire on the president and result in a Saturday Night Massacre,” the source said.
Nonetheless, “the president gave orders to convene meetings with his other top advisers over the matter,” the source continued. “And that’s how he and Jarrett left the matter for now.”
There is a legal precedent for a president firing an FBI director.
In the summer of 1993, President Bill Clinton fired FBI Director William Session, citing a highly critical report on Sessions’ conduct by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
The Justice Department report found, among other things, that Sessions had engaged in a sham transaction to avoid paying taxes on his use of an FBI limousine to take him to and from work, that he had billed the government for a security fence around his home that provided no security and that he had arranged business trips to places where he could meet with relatives.
The Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the president’s right to fire any member of the Executive Branch.
Obama has said that he doesn’t want to meddle in the FBI’s process. But in an interview today with CNN’s NowThis News, he said it was important to follow a practice of not allowing intimations or suggestions to pervade the public’s view of the case.
“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo and we don’t operate on incomplete information and we don’t operate on leaks,” Obama said in an obvious slap at Comey and his methods. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly last time the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.”
It’s no secret Obama harbors contempt for the FBI director. As quoted in “Guilty as Sin,” Obama fumes to Valerie Jarrett that appointing Comey was his “worst mistake as president.”
In what looked like a concerted effort to call for Comey’s head, Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, suggested that Comey might be removed from his post, saying in an interview with CNN, “Maybe he’s not in the right job.”
Edward Klein’s latest book is “Guilty as Sin.”