Thursday, May 11, 2017
Comey's Firing: A Primer on Pretextual Excuses
In employment law there is a well-known doctrine called "pretext." It states that if you even terminate an employee for reasonable and plausible reason, you can still be found liable for the violation of the employment laws if your reason was merely a pretext for an improper reason. the typical case is when a black employee is fired "because she came to work late," when the real reason she was fired was because she was black.
It is stunningly obvious, and the news reporting even by conservative newspapers like the Wall Street Journal supports, that the rationale offered by the Trump Administration was a complete pretext. Hell, Trump applauded Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation at the time. If he had serious concerns about Comey's behavior in the investigation, Comey would have been terminated early in the Administration. He was not. Trump's reliance on this explanation is simply laughable.
Well sourced news stories now make clear that Trump had other reasons to dislike Comey--most notably Comey's statement that there was no Obama wiretapping of the Trump campaign, his statement that he felt "nauseous" that he might have influence the election, and Comey's dogged focus on the Russia investigation.
So while the Rubenstein memorandum offers a reasonable basis to terminate Comey, it is clearly a mere pretext for the firing. As such, the termination of Comey hurts the independence of the FBI and should be troubling to all Americans.