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May 20, 2017



High-profile firings by Trump since becoming US president

High-profile firings by Trump since becoming US president

US president’s impeachment calls gain momentum

LAHORE: Since assuming office as 45th president of United States on January 20, Donald Trump has fired at least four high-ranking officials, reviving his old reality show tagline -- "you're fired!"

On May 9, FBI Director James Comey was handed over the pink slip for the way he had handled his bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. This move had prompted an outcry from both sides of the political aisle in the world’s most accomplished democracy.

The “ABC News” writes: “There have been a handful of high profile firings so far during the Trump administration. Three of the four biggest firings have involved people who were reportedly connected to various investigations into Trump, his businesses, or Russian involvement in the US presidential election.”

The “ABC News” states: “The firing reportedly came days after Comey requested additional money and staffing from the Department of Justice for the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, according to Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and another U.S. official with knowledge of the situation. Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Flores denied that such a request was made, saying the day after Comey’s firing that it was "100 percent false" and "it didn't happen." Trump initially cited advice "from the attorney general and deputy attorney general of  the United States recommending your dismissal as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," in his a letter to Comey.”

The media outlet had revealed that Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, was so upset that the White House had pinned Comey’s dismissal on him that he had considered resigning.

A rundown of a few other US officials fired by Trump and why:

On January 30, Trump had fired Sally Yates.

The “ABC News” maintains: “Yates was fired from her post as acting attorney general after she instructed the Department of Justice (DoJ) not to defend Trump’s January 27 executive order barring immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The order was later blocked in court. The White House said in a statement that Sally Yates "betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States."

Just days later, on February 23, the US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was sent packing by Trump.

The “ABC News” asserts: “Flynn’s transition from longtime campaign surrogate to National Security Adviser was short-lived. Flynn was only in his White House post for 25 days before being asked to resign. Flynn previously denied that he had spoken with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Kislyak, in December about sanctions that Obama had imposed on Russia for its suspected interference in the 2016 presidential election. Vice President Mike Pence repeated the denial when asked about the situation in January, but administration officials noted that he was relying on information provided to him by Flynn at the time.

It went on to write: “Sources told ABC News that Flynn called Pence three days before his resignation to apologize for misleading him about his conversation with the ambassador. On March 31, Flynn, via his lawyer, requested immunity as a condition for speaking with members of Congress as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the election. Trump defended his former staffer’s request, tweeting: “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!” The immunity request was rebuffed by both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.”

On March 11, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was shown the door.

“The ABC News” views: “While it is common for some U.S. attorneys to resign from their posts when presidential administrations change, the firing of Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, came as a surprise. Bharara met with Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November during the transition and was asked to "stay on." What was apparently not made explicit was whether that request applied to Bharara's full term or just a holdover period. Bharara believed he had been asked to stay on for his full term, a person briefed on the situation told ABC News.”

It writes: “Three months later, on Friday, March 10, the DOJ requested that any remaining "holdover" U.S. attorneys step down. That same day, an official briefed on the situation said that Bharara received a voicemail from one of Trump's assistants, asking him to call back to speak to the president. Bharara didn't know the subject and had no reason to believe he was being fired. Bharara believed it would be a violation of Department of Justice protocol to have any call with the president. An official briefed on the situation told ABC News that Bharara called Sessions' chief of staff, who agreed with his assessment.”

The esteemed UAE-based publication “Khaleej Times” adds:”US President Donald Trump faced a fallout on Wednesday over revelations that he personally appealed to now-fired FBI director James Comey to abandon the bureau's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, allegations based on notes Comey wrote after the meeting. The White House has denied the report, which came amid a furore over the president's discussions with Russian diplomats in which Trump is said to have disclosed classified information.”

The “Khaleej Times” held: “In a bizarre twist on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to turn over to Congress records of Trump's discussions. Putin told a news conference, he would be willing to turn over notes of Trump's meeting with the Russian diplomats if the White House agreed. He dismissed outrage over Trump's disclosures as US politicians whipping up "anti-Russian sentiment.” 

Meanwhile, President Trump’s political adversaries have started planning a series of nationwide protests, known as “Impeachment Marches,” on July 2 to increase the pressure on country’s legislative houses to impeach the incumbent American head of state, a few lawmakers have already started backing the growing voices in the context in very harsh tones. 

The New York Times writes: “In a speech to the liberal Center for American Progress, Representative Maxine Waters of California drew applause and whistles when she reminded the audience of her insistence that Mr. Trump be driven from office. But even more notably, Ms. Waters, a veteran lawmaker, has also been intensifying pressure on her colleagues to recognize the threat she said is posed by a reckless president.”

The newspaper quoted her saying: “I know that there are those who are talking about, ‘Well, we’re going to get ready for the next election. No, we can’t wait that long. We don’t need to wait that long. He will have destroyed this country by then.”

Meanwhile, J.B. Pritzker, a prominent Democratic donor and businessman who is running for governor of Illinois, has publicly demanded that the house initiates proceedings against Trump.

The “New York Times” quoted him saying: “We simply do not have the luxury of time to wait for months or years to determine whether the current president of the United States has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. The House must begin the impeachment process before Donald Trump puts us at risk again.”