Philadelphia (CBS) – Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen appeared with The Rich Zeoli Show on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT to discuss Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, saying that, as surprised he was by the developments of the story, it does not rise to the level of Watergate.
“It was an earth shattering moment. There’s not denying that. It isn’t every day that the FBI Director is fired summarily, effective immediately. So, this felt like big news and it rippled across social media and broadcast media with extraordinary speed and impact. That said, the reflexive impulse on the part of, particularly of Democrats, but even some Republicans to call this a Nixonian act by President Trump or to draw instant comparison to the ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ in Watergate struck me as inapt.”
He believes Comey’s demise was brought about by an appearance that the Director operated by his own rules
“You have Director Comey, who has indeed committed a series of missteps, and the real reason that Jim Comey was fired was because too many sets of eyes inside Congress, inside the ranks of the FBI, out there in the great mass of the American electorate, but most notably at the White House and the Department of Justice, James Comey had become the law unto himself. This was most in evidenced in the different sets of Congressional testimony he presented where he would tell lawmakers he had special authorization from the Department of Justice to confirm that he was working on the Russian collusion investigation, but when asked about other matters related of great public interest, such as the unmasking activity or the leaking of materials related to General Flynn, Mr Comey, seeming to make up Comey’s rules as Comey went along, would say I don’t have the authorization from DOJ to discuss whether we’re investigating.”
Rosen also discounted reports that Trump ordered Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to write a justification of Comey’s removal after the decision had already been made.
“Was this top down, something ordered by the President and then justified ex post facto in these memoranda by the officials at Justice or was this bottom up, where the officials at Justice brought this to the President and he simply acceded in their recommendation? The answer is we don’t know right now. It may be years before we know that fully…But, it does strike me as implausible that someone of Rod Rosenstein’s record, high ethical standards and judgement would accede in some top down scenario where the President was ordering him to justify this after the fact.”