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house Bill H.R. 531

Should the President Only Be Able to Fire the FBI Director for Good Cause?

Argument in favor

President Trump’s politically motivated firing of James Comey was a clear abuse of presidential power. This bill is needed to ensure that FBI Directors are able to carry out their jobs without the threat of political blowback or being fired.

Sylvie 's Opinion
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02/15/2019
The FBI is not a political football to be tossed around on a presidential whim.
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Hillary's Opinion
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02/15/2019
Yes, but the “good cause” is awfully ambiguous. It must be written out specifically. Presidents are servants, not kings.
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Glowurm's Opinion
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02/15/2019
OMG. This is even a question? I don't think he should have the power to fire him, just like he cannot fire a legislator! Our President should not have dictatorial power. STOP THIS IDIOT! What he did to Comey and McCabe should be CONSIDERED TREASONOUS! Especially, in that he was trying to protect himself and his cronies. He stole the election and has tried to cover it up. HE MUST BE DEEMED AN ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT! FYI, a group backed by Vegas billionaire, casino owner, and great friend of orange pig, Sheldon Adelson, recently lobbied the Justice Dept. to reinterpret online gambling rules - for his benefit. Whitaker, as acting AG and orange pig’s front man, did just this for him in January! The orange pig chose to change the rules to benefit Sheldon, for personal reasons. He is, obviously, using the FBI for his and his friends’ personal gain. This is downright unlawful and MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY!
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Argument opposed

President Trump was within his rights as president to fire James Comey. There’s no good reason to constrain presidential power vis-a-vis the FBI Director — he or she serves at the whim of the president, just like many other presidential appointees.

Jan's Opinion
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02/15/2019
I am of the opinion that Congress needs to enact legislation taking back its' powers and responsibilities from the Executive Branch and re-balancing the powers of the 3 branches of government!!!!!
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Amy's Opinion
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02/15/2019
Our current president should not be making executive orders on anything
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Carol's Opinion
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02/15/2019
I think the FBI is so corrupt that the whole lot of them need to be fired & replaced...
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 531?

This bill, the Fighting for Intelligent, Rational, and Ethical Dismissal (FIRED) Act, would prohibit the President from firing the FBI Director without good cause. This would mean that the president could only remove the FBI director on the basis of “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”

Impact

FBI Director; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 531

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to ensure that the FBI Director can perform his or her job without the threat of political repercussions. When he introduced this bill last Congress, Rep. Brown said in a press release:

“We need to be certain the FBI Director can perform his or her duties free from threats from the Oval Office or partisan politics. If the FIRED Act were in place, Mr. Comey would still be leading the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn and the President’s ties with Russia. As more information about the FBI’s Russia investigation comes to light, it is clear that President Trump has made disturbing decisions raising serious questions.”

In an interview after this bill’s introduction last Congress, Richard Painter, chairman of the board for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), expressed support for this bill:

“Put together with all the other evidence, it seems quite clear that [FBI Director Comey’s firing] was motivated by the desire to slow down or end the Russia investigation, and if that’s true, I think that amounts to obstruction of justice, but that’s where the evidence is pointing in my view.”

Patrick Eddington, a CATO Institute policy analyst, criticized this bill as an “ill-considered, feel-good messaging bill.” He added that there’s no legal definition of “good cause” to fire a Senate-confirmed official not guilty of dereliction or criminal conduct.

This bill has one cosponsor in the current Congress, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL).


Of Note: This bill was precipitated by President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, which the President himself stated was due to Comey’s investigation of the president’s ties with Russia. Rep. Brown called Director Comey’s “unprecedented and without cause.” Immediately after the firing, most political observers characterized Comey’s firing as a massive political scandal.

At the time, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) called Comey’s firing “shocking”:

“The president’s firing of FBI director Comey … was a shocking development. The timing of Director Comey’s dismissal to me and many committee members on both sides of the aisle is especially troubling. He was leading an active counterintelligence investigation into any links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government or its representatives, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere in our election. For many people, including myself, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the president’s decision to remove Director Comey was related to this investigation. And that is unacceptable.”

Writing in The Hill in April 2018, journalist Sharyl Attkisson argued that the “facts supported” Comey’s firing:

“A lot of new information has come out in the year since President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. No matter whether you admire Trump, Comey, both or neither — it’s now difficult to argue that Trump made the wrong move in removing Comey. Even many of Trump’s detractors would agree that no president should keep in place the head of a crucial division who — along with some of his top staff — apparently worked to undermine or control the president, and exercised poor judgment in important matters.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: Federal Bureau of Investigations Public Domain via Creative Commons)

AKA

FIRED Act

Official Title

To amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide that the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation may only be removed for cause, and for other purposes.

    The FBI is not a political football to be tossed around on a presidential whim.
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    I am of the opinion that Congress needs to enact legislation taking back its' powers and responsibilities from the Executive Branch and re-balancing the powers of the 3 branches of government!!!!!
    Like (111)
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    Yes, but the “good cause” is awfully ambiguous. It must be written out specifically. Presidents are servants, not kings.
    Like (124)
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    OMG. This is even a question? I don't think he should have the power to fire him, just like he cannot fire a legislator! Our President should not have dictatorial power. STOP THIS IDIOT! What he did to Comey and McCabe should be CONSIDERED TREASONOUS! Especially, in that he was trying to protect himself and his cronies. He stole the election and has tried to cover it up. HE MUST BE DEEMED AN ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT! FYI, a group backed by Vegas billionaire, casino owner, and great friend of orange pig, Sheldon Adelson, recently lobbied the Justice Dept. to reinterpret online gambling rules - for his benefit. Whitaker, as acting AG and orange pig’s front man, did just this for him in January! The orange pig chose to change the rules to benefit Sheldon, for personal reasons. He is, obviously, using the FBI for his and his friends’ personal gain. This is downright unlawful and MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY!
    Like (108)
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    Our current president should not be making executive orders on anything
    Like (66)
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    I think the FBI is so corrupt that the whole lot of them need to be fired & replaced...
    Like (44)
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    The president should be able to fire him for any reason!
    Like (36)
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    This bill prevents abuse of executive power. If the Congress is required to confirm a nominee, they should be required to fire one.
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    The president did fire him for cause. Don’t you remember when you dems wanted Comeys head for reopening the Clinton investigation? Hypocrites.
    Like (19)
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    The FBI serves the country, not the President.
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    A CEO of any corp has the right to fire at will, with the exception of Montana who protects workers from being fired without probable cause. I don't care what people say when they have no knowledge that the" United States of America" IS a CORP like any other. On top of this fact, the firing of Comey was based on treasonous actions and should have been fired long before President Trump.
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    It’s in the powers of the president to fire them for any reason really so....🤷🏼‍♂️ and in the case of Comey it was for good reason!!! It’s not an abuse of power by the executive branch or the president.
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    The FBI Director works at the behest of the President. The President is the Commander in Chief and no matter how much the left wants to neuter him, they will not be able to do it. Eric Holder once said he is President Obama’s Wing Man. Why didn’t the left file lawsuits against that? Why wasn’t the press beating down Obama’s door demanding an explanation. Because these idiots have Trump derangement syndrome and will do anything to get him out of office. No one held treasonous Obama responsible for the Trillions of $$$ he took from the government for shovel ready jobs that never happened?? They have no accountability for their treachery!! Time to leave this man alone to do the job he was hired to do by the majority of this country. And yes, I say majority, because I have seen democrats cheat first hand at the polls. Even to the point of democratic poll workers wearing big buttons saying “Vote Democrat” openly. Until I loudly called them out. They are criminal, & I can only pray our new AG does the job weak & feckless Sessions was afraid to do!! Put their asses in prison!!
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    No because that’s subjective. The president should be able to fire the FBI director if he can’t preform his job duties.
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    ‘Tinee” The FBI DIRECTOR SERVES AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT. AS SUCH HE MAY BE FIRED AS SUCH. President Clinton fired FBI Director William Sessions on 19 July 1993, one day before Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, a longtime associate of the Clintons, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. What's False....... There is nothing inherently suspicious about the coincidental timing of Sessions's firing and Vince Foster's death (which was determined to be a suicide). The president did fire him for cause. Don’t you remember when you dems wanted Comeys head for reopening the Clinton investigation? Hypocrites. President Trump was within his rights as president to fire James Comey. There’s no good reason to constrain presidential power vis-a-vis the FBI Director — he or she serves at the whim of the president, just like many other presidential appointees. SneakyPete.......... 🤔🤔🤔. 2*15*19.....
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    Stupid question , he is not a king
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    YES! And now that the Supreme Court has been filled with Republican picks, they damn well better not be able to weigh in on it. TRUMP SAID WHY HE DID IT ON LIVE TV WITH MILLIONS WATCHING! WHY HE & HIS FREAK SHOW OF AN ADMINISTRATION IS STILL IN PLACE DRIVES ME CRAZY. HE, HIS FAMILY, HIS CAMPAIGN, HIS FOUNDATION, HIS UNIVERSITY, HIS TRUMP TOWER DOWN THE STREET FROM THE CONGRESS ARE ALL COMPLICIT. LOCK HIM UP ALREADY.
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    You cannot keep firing people you do not like. It costs the taxpayers and all of the related employees and staff immensely. Congress should be the only entity that can fire an FBI director.
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    Any cause . Comey was working for evil Democrats.
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    This question is actually self-defeating. The president fired Comey FOR CAUSE. Comey is a known corrupt political tool of the Clinton’s. He was also handled by Barack Obama via Loretta Lynch. His leadership of the FBI spawned such corrupt upper level types as Ohr, McCabe, Strzok, et al. Proposing a law limiting the president’s ability to dismiss personnel who are employed “at the will” of the executive branch, handcuffs an efficient and lawfully run government. In other words, an employee who is openly hostile to the White House cannot be fired even though his or her actions are detrimental to the United States. As soon as a democrat controlled congress and White House occupant prevail, this law would be rescinded on January 21st of their ascendancy.
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