US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) applaud as US President Donald J. Trump (C) arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017. Traditionally the first address to a joint session of Congress by a newly-elected president is not referred to as a State of the Union.

The Comey Firing Provides Congress an Opportunity to Reassert Itself

Had President Obama fired James Comey as so many on the left wanted, no one would be complaining. In fact, I think it is notable that when Bill Clinton, while being investigated by the FBI, fired William Sessions, there was no outrage. The level of partisanship in Washington right now is off the charts. Everyone screaming about a constitutional crisis is out of their minds.

James Comey needed to go. Ron Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, effectively made the case in his letter to the President and no one disputes the claims he made. The hang up is that Donald Trump fired James Comey and put a Democrat in charge of the FBI until someone else is appointed.

The outrage is silly, given that Andrew McCabe will serve in the interim. Members of the media swept up into a frenzy after months of wanting Comey fired is another reminder that the supposed fourth branch of government is really a wing of the Democratic Party.

The reality here, however, is that President Trump’s actions have paved the way for Congress to reassert itself and its powers. Over the past sixteen years, members of both parties have abdicated more and more responsibility to the Executive Branch. They have allowed the Executive Branch to legislate through the regulatory process. They have allowed the Executive Branch to disperse funds through automatic payments and discretionary use of funds. The only thing Congress does is show trials when the party opposite the White House controls the Congress. But even then, that party too allows the Executive to operate beyond the limits the founders intended.

Democrats allowed President Bush to operate far beyond what they should have. Republicans allowed President Obama to do the same.

President Trump firing the FBI Director gives Congress a chance to reassert its powers as the first and preeminent branch of government. The House of Representatives should engage and probe, honestly, the FBI and its investigation into Russia. The House Republicans should support Rep. Justin Amash’s effort for an independent review of Russian involvement in the Presidential election. The Senate should take its confirmation process of the FBI Director serious.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have an obligation to ensure an independent, competent Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There should be no yes man, and the burden here is on Republicans. They have repeatedly rallied to the President as party cheerleaders. Now they have a constitutional obligation to put Article One of the Constitution ahead of the Republican Party.

Congress should dust off Article One and read it. They have ceded too much power to the second branch. The firing of James Comey provides an opportunity for Congress to take back some of its power, rein in regulators, and use its investigative powers wisely.

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Erick Erickson

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