CNN’s perpetual “BREAKING NEWS” banner kicked into high gear Tuesday afternoon when Wolf Blitzer broke the news to viewers that President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, effective immediately.
But it was CNN judicial analyst Jeffrey Toobin who had the harshest assessment the president’s decision to unseat the man in charge of investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia.
When Blitzer called the move “an extraordinary moment in American history,” a fired up Toobin said, “You bet it is, Wolf, and it is a grotesque abuse of power by the president of the United States.”
“This is the kind of thing that goes on in non-democracies,” Toobin continued. “That when there is an investigation that reaches near the president of the United States, or the leader of a non-democracy, they fire the people who are in charge of the investigation.” Toobin said he has not “seen anything like this” since October 20, 1973 when President Richard Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, which, he noted led to Nixon’s resignation.
“This is not normal,” he said. “This is not politics as usual. This is something that is completely outside how the American law is supposed to work.” While he admitted “there is no question that the president has the legal authority to do what he has done,” Toobin stressed that there is nothing "normal" about his actions.
“This is a political act when the president is under investigation,” Toobin said. “When his White House counsel was described yesterday as being told that his National Security Adviser was subject to blackmail by the Russians and they fired the attorney general a few days later,” he added, referring to acting AG Sally Yates. “Now they’ve fired the FBI director. I mean, what kind of country is this?”
“Strong words from Jeffrey Toobin,” Blitzer said in the understatement of the evening.