Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate hearing had one unifying factor; people from all over the political spectrum came together to watch him testify, some hoping to hear damaging testimony and others listening for words that would exonerate President Trump.
According to the ACLU’s Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, “the entire country tuned into a Senate hearing to hear firsthand about wrongdoing by the president of the United States.”
As he sat before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey’s testimony explored conversations he had with the president, as well as his impressions of what Trump’s intentions were. According to Romero’s ACLU blog post, Comey gave the world “a lot to think about” during Thursday’s hearing. He says the hearing was a “play-by-play account of a president pressuring the FBI director on a matter that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has called ‘bigger than Watergate’.”
Romero did clarify that “any decision calling for impeachment” will be determined by the ACLU National Board, and will be based on facts, law and due process.
Romero cited a few “highlights” to consider:
- He was happy that the Senate Intelligence Committee had a public hearing, especially “so soon after Comey’s firing.” Romero notes that the Committee is normally prone to “secrecy and closed door hearings,” but he’s impressed by the accountability presented by the “public oversight” opportunity.
- He feels all the memos Comey prepared “following his meetings and phone calls with President Trump” should be available for public consumption. According Romero, “Every American should be able to know what exactly the president did or didn’t do to influence this investigation.”
- Romero feels its important that Comey said Russian government interference in our presidential election was a “big deal” and that an American who “helped the Russians in this interference” was a “very big deal.”
- Romero notes that at the end of his testimony, Comey tried to insinuate that Trump wanted a “quid pro quo arrangement with the FBI director,” which Romero feels “would certainly establish an intent to obstruct justice.”
- He says Comey’s testimony is the “beginning of a long road toward transparency and accountability.”
- Romero says “Comey and the Senate Intelligence Committee deserve the gratitude of all Americans for taking seriously our Constitution’s system of checks and balances.” Romero is ready for the Senate Intelligence Committee to continue questioning witnesses.
Romero ended his post, writing:
As we’ve said before, our longstanding belief in due process, the rights of the accused, and innocence until proven guilty requires us to resist a rush to judgment. That’s why we’ve called for not just the appointment of a special counsel but also of a select congressional committee focused on these allegations. Any decision calling for impeachment — or an investigation toward impeachment — is the call of the ACLU National Board. To be clear, those decisions will be guided by a close reading of the facts and our commitment to the rule of law and due process.
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