Right-wing media figures, many of them employed by Fox News, used President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey to call for reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, suggesting that Clinton be prosecuted and that she “belongs behind bars.”
Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey
NY Times: “F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired By Trump.” On May 9, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey following the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who, according to The New York Times, cited Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation, and in particular, Comey’s July 5 press conference about the investigation, as the reason for the degradation of trust between the FBI and the public. From the May 9 New York Times report
President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The stunning development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency. It immediately ignited Democratic calls for a special counsel to lead the Russia inquiry.
Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.
But in his letter to Mr. Comey, released to reporters by the White House, the president betrayed his focus on the continuing inquiry into Russia and his aides.
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to Mr. Comey dated Tuesday. White House officials refused to say anything more about the three occasions Mr. Trump cited. [The New York Times, 5/9/17]
Right-Wing Media Figures Call For The Email Investigation To Be Reopened And Clinton To Be Prosecuted
Fox's Lou Dobbs: “The Investigation Of Hillary Clinton … Should Be Reopened In My Opinion.” Appearing on Hannity, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs called it “disturbing” that Comey’s firing “does not leave clearly the pointer towards re-beginning, restarting the investigation of Hillary Clinton.” Dobbs added that the investigation “should be reopened in my opinion.” From the May 9 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
LOU DOBBS: The issue here is that Comey had it wrong from the very beginning. It's all based on an investigation that took 11 months to actually just drop everything, as you pointed out. The conclusion was to not prosecute, when every charge against Hillary Clinton was staring Americans who are not lawyers in the face. They know that she acted irresponsibly, she acted against the law.
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Illegally.
DOBBS: And there were absolutely no consequences. It is disturbing that this recommendation that came out today, that the president fired the FBI director does not leave clearly the pointer toward re-beginning, restarting the investigation of Hillary Clinton, because I think that is the effect here.
This whole judgment today on the part of the president was based on the deputy attorney general and the attorney general saying, based on his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton, he ought to be fired. That being the case, the questions, the investigation, the consequences, and that should be reopened in my opinion. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/9/17]
Fox's Andrew Napolitano: Maybe Rosenstein Determined That Clinton “Should Have Been And Still Can Be Indicted For Espionage, The Failure To Safeguard State Secrets.” Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano suggested that Rosenstein requested Comey’s firing because he “decided that Comey’s judgment” regarding the Clinton email investigation “was utterly irregular and inappropriate and that maybe she should have been and still can be indicted.” From the May 9 edition of Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Let me suggest another scenario, that Rod Rosenstein reviewed the Hillary Clinton file, which he had never seen before, and decided that Comey's judgment was utterly irregular and inappropriate and that maybe she should have been and still can be indicted for espionage, the failure to safeguard state secrets while she was secretary of state. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 5/9/17]
Fox’s Hannity And Guests Repeatedly Ask Whether DOJ, Prosecutors Will Bring Clinton Case Forward: “Let The Evidence And The Facts Be Investigated.” Fox host Sean Hannity along with guests Sara Carter, Jay Sekulow, and Lou Dobbs debated what Comey’s firing means for Clinton, questioning “why” nothing would happen to Clinton after Comey’s firing. Hannity and his guests repeatedly claimed that “we know she broke the law with the email server scandal.” Carter, a correspondent for right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Circa News, claimed “we need to ask” why the Justice Department is “not bringing that case forward again and if they will,” adding, “I’m not going to hold my breath on it. I’m going to hope that maybe somebody will have the courage to do that.” From the May 9 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Here’s the question I want to ask all of you, and I think this is the most important question of the night, and we’ll start with Sara. Sara, if you are Hillary Clinton tonight, what are you thinking?
SARA CARTER: Boy, I’d be a little bit concerned right now because even though Director Comey is now gone, I would be really concerned about who’s coming in and what they're going to be looking at. I still don't think, Sean, anything's going to happen when it comes to Hillary Clinton. I mean, you brought up the uranium --
CARTER: Because --
HANNITY: Why? Didn’t she -- don't we know she broke the law with the email server scandal?
CARTER: We do. We do.
HANNITY: She broke the law. Why if Sean Hannity breaks the law, do I go to jail? I have to pay more in taxes, because I knew Obama had a bullseye on my back. Lou [Dobbs] paid three times because they had a bigger one on his, and everyone here. Why do we have to obey the laws and she gets off scot-free? Why? That’s not fair.
CARTER: We have to ask the Justice Department that. We need to ask prosecutors that question. And why they’re not bringing that case forward again and if they will. Even if they will, even if they can find something that can reopen this investigation into Hillary Clinton. But you know what, I'm not going to hold my breath on it. I’m going to hope that maybe somebody will have the courage to do that. But this is how this game is played.
JAY SEKULOW: Let's follow the law. So let's do with the law says. The rule of law says impanel a grand jury, new investigators, new prosecutors. They relook all of these cases that we’ve outlined, start it afresh. That is how you get justice in these kinds of situations.
LOU DOBBS: Let’s go get them.
SEKULOW: You know that the previous director did not do that. Now you have to.
HANNITY: I am with Lou, and I’m with Sara. Sara, I say let the law -- let the evidence and the facts be investigated, and as every other American would be treated, so shall the Clintons be treated or we have no Constitution and no equal justice under the law in this country any longer. And that’s the tipping point.
CARTER: Absolutely, Sean. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/9/17]
Fox Anchor Gregg Jarrett: Trump Should Now “Have His Attorney General Appoint A Special Prosecutor To Reexamine The Evidence In The Hillary Clinton Email Case And Decide Anew Whether She Should Be Criminally Charged.” In an op-ed for FoxNews.com, Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett asserted that Trump should “have his Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor to reexamine the evidence in the Hillary Clinton email case and decide anew whether she should be criminally charged.” Jarrett also claimed that Clinton made a “flagrant” violation of the Espionage Act and that “a jury should decide whether she belongs behind bars.” From the May 9 op-ed:
President Trump should fulfill his campaign promise to have his Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor to reexamine the evidence in the Hillary Clinton email case and decide anew whether she should be criminally charged.
There are plenty of “reasonable prosecutors” who would bring that case. Clinton’s violation of the Espionage Act was flagrant.
A jury should decide whether she belongs behind bars. [FoxNews.com, 5/9/17]