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Does Comey's Dismissal Signal a Constitutional Crisis in America?

From left: communications coordinator Sarah Wesley, Truthdig columnist Bill Blum, Deputy Editor Kasia Anderson and assistant editor Emma Niles.

President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Chief James Comey immediately sparked concern from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Many compared the firing to the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” during Richard Nixon’s administration, and now members of Congress are demanding an independent investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Truthdig editorial team sat down with contributor and former judge Bill Blum to analyze Comey’s termination and discuss the potential of an independent investigation into the 2016 presidential election. Blum points out that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia investigation, signed off on the decision to fire Comey. Who will succeed Comey, and what are the chances of an independent investigation into the 2016 presidential election? Does the public really believe the firing was motivated by Comey’s mishandling of Clinton emails? And haven’t Democrats long advocated for Comey’s dismissal?

Blum first points out that it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Trump to be called to testify in an independent investigation — in fact, in a column earlier this year, Blum posed a similar scenario.

“Testifying before Congress is rare for presidents, but not unprecedented,” he wrote. “Abraham Lincoln voluntarily appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in 1862. Woodrow Wilson testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1919. Most relevant, Gerald Ford explained his decision to pardon Nixon in testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee in 1974.”

During Thursday’s discussion, Blum also provided insight into Trump’s character as a leader. “The goal of leaders is to seek calm waters,” he explained. “Instead, we are careening from one crisis to another.”

Blum laid out the ways in which an independent investigation could proceed and also addressed the feasibility of impeachment, noting that as long as Trump still has the support of the majority of Congress, it will be hard to hold him accountable.

“For whatever Donald Trump is, he is their ticket out,” Blum said of the GOP. Watch the full conversation in the video above.

Watch past editions of “Live at Truthdig” here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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