Alan M. Dershowitz
Having fired FBI Director James Comey, President Trump must now make a decision that could shape the future of our country. He is being accused, both by Democrats and even some Republicans, of a conflict of interest in firing the public official who was heading an investigation of members of his administration, including some who are close him. The letter from respected Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein provided a justification for terminating Comey, but many Americans believe that President Trump seized on this letter as an excuse for firing a man whose potential investigative results worried him. They do not believe that the real reason related to Comey's unfairness to Hillary Clinton. We will never know what went on inside the head of the President. His motives in firing Comey will always remain a matter of dispute. But reasonable Americans of both parties can plausibly believe that he did not fire Comey for the reasons so eloquently set forth in Rosenstein's letter. Nor do they believe that Rosenstein spontaneously decided, on his own, to write the letter.
Only President Trump can prove that he was motivated by the public interest rather than by personal considerations. He can prove that by appointing a replacement for Comey who is at least as tough and independent as Comey himself. If he appoints such a person, he will allay doubts, at least among reasonable and objective Americans, that he was motivated by a desire to weaken the investigation of the Russian connection. But if he appoints someone who is less likely to be vigorous in uncovering the truth, he will confirm the suspicion of those who question his intentions.
President Trump can also allay doubts if he were to announce his support for an independent Commission, modeled on the 911 Commission, to investigate all aspects of the alleged Russian connection, including the leaks growing out of the current investigation. All Americans should be interested in learning the unvarnished truth about these important issues.
Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, May 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm