Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey an ‘assault on the rule of law’, expert says

by Shannon Roddel

Jimmy GuruléJimmy Gurulé

President Donald Trump, on Tuesday (May 9), fired FBI Director James Comey, ousting the nation’s top federal law enforcement official as he was investigating whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia to interfere with last year’s U.S. presidential election.

Comey’s abrupt firing is an “assault on the rule of law,” according to Jimmy Gurulé, Notre Dame Law School professor and former assistant attorney general appointed by President George H.W. Bush.

“A central tenet of the rule of law is that ‘no one is above the law,’” says Gurulé, also a former federal prosecutor. “Further, to ensure public confidence in the rule of law, the law must be applied fairly and impartially. These principles are undermined when the potential targets of a serious criminal investigation, President Trump and Attorney General (Jeff) Sessions, interfere with that investigation by firing the person in charge and then seeking to hand-pick the person responsible for investigating them. That’s not how a democracy works.”

Gurulé says an impartial and independent prosecutor’s office is critical to sustaining a vibrant democracy and upholding the rule of law.

“President Trump’s decision to fire Comey as he was investigating Russian ties to the Trump campaign threatens our democracy and undermines the integrity of the FBI investigation,” he says. “Moreover, President Trump should not be permitted to appoint the person responsible for investigating the president and his associates. Such an investigation would lack any credibility. Instead, an independent prosecutor should be appointed to complete the investigation commenced by Director Comey.”

Since joining the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 1989, Gurulé has taken two significant leaves, one to serve as assistant U.S. attorney general and another to serve as undersecretary of the U.S. treasury department for enforcement.

Contact: Jimmy Gurulé, 574-631-5917, gurule.1@nd.edu