Our "Political Insiders" mostly disapprove of President Donald Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.
A little more than half of the Republicans on our panel said they disapproved of Trump's decision to remove Comey. An overwhelming number of the Democrats we asked were critical of the move, as were a majority of our readers.
Trump fired Comey on May 9 over his handling of the investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election. After his dismissal, it became known that Comey wrote a memo about a previous meeting with Trump where the president asked him to back off the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's connections to Russia and Turkey.
On Friday it was reported Trump called Comey a "nut job" during a meeting with two Russian officials in the White House.
We asked the same question in a recent Dan Jones & Associates poll and found our "Political Insider" panel is, for the most part, more critical of the move than Utahns as a whole.
46% of Utahns say they disapprove of Comey's firing while 37% approve. 17% said they didn't know.
Selected anonymous comments:
James Comey is a highly respected public servant and a man of integrity. President Trump will regret his rash decision.
Should have been done sooner. Comey was an embarrassment to the agency.
At what point in time do we start to question the judgment of Republicans like Orrin Hatch who not only stand by Donald Trump but also brag about how close they have become? Wake up, Orrin! Trump is an absolute disaster and your desperation to be close to his power will only tarnish your legacy.
I think he deserved to be fired for his mishandling of the Clinton email investigation. But to fire him as the Russia/Trump investigation started warming up is very suspicious. Optics alone made it a very bad move.
The President should have been smart enough to announce the firing and his new choice for FBI director at the same time.
Firing the FBI director is well within the purview of the President, though even a novice politician could see the timing would be viewed as suspicious. It's amazing that they weren't better prepared to try to control the story by outlining why he was fired. It's too simple for a casual observer to see the pattern of taking out anyone who looks into ties with Russia. Trump has brought far more attention to this than I believe he expected and it could be one of the final few straws that break the camels back as it forces the spotlight to shine intensely on the Senate investigation.
That was a really stupid move. If you want to put the fire out, don't pour gasoline on it. Moron.
Approve sounds like the wrong word, however. I understand the president has the authority to terminate the FBI director; however, in this case with the ongoing questions about possible Trump-Russian conclusion it "reeks" of a termination to cover-up. My suspicions of Trump increase because of this action.
Reckless is as reckless does.
The president is within his right to fire Coney. Hillary would have likely fired him on her first day. It's not the end of the world, or of any investigation of Russian ties. Time to move on.
Disapprove of the way he did it, the timing of doing it, but neutral on who he did it to.
He should be able to hire and fire who he wants.
It not a big deal. Why does the media have to make mountains out of mole hills? Every day I have less respect for the national news media. They are so obviously partisan in their views that I am asking my self if I even want to read, listen or watch what they report. Even public radio or TV where I served for years on the KUED Board and where I used to think I could get a balance of views on different subjects has become so one sided that I get up and turn it off. I have turned to C-Span. There I can watch and hear what people are actually saying without some talking head telling me what they said and what I should believe and how I should interpret what was said.
Trump is trying very hard to squelch any investigation into his contact with Russia - this is like the beginning of Watergate. Stay tuned...
The firing of Jim Comey will eventually lead to Trump's undoing. This was a completely unnecessary self-inflicted wound.
Leave him alone to do his job. It seems that every day is a slow news day.
If Trump had stayed with the story that he alone decided to fire Comey, it wouldn't have been as bad as blaming Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. He never knows when to shut up.
Approve, but bad timing.
I'm a former FBI Agent and have had the opportunity to meet and hear Director Comey speak. I liked him then and still do. NONE OF US know the "back story." The talking heads are talking without any idea of what the facts really are. I can't even begin to speculate what the underlying causes may be.
As the president of the United States, he can do whatever he wants. Unfortunately, I believe DJT is not working in the best interest of us the citizens of the country. His actions remind me more of a dictator than a president of a democracy.
There were people on both sides of the political spectrum who wanted Comey fired. Trump's timing and they way he fired Comey could not have been worse. It is almost a daily comedy of errors with Trump.
To me it is not what Trump does, it is the lack of a coherent message about what he did.
All from the Obama regime (inherited or chosen) should be removed from their positions. Mixing old with new staff is like yeast dough that's gone old and trying to revive with new yeast. It's not the best idea for the best results.
Comey should have been fired the day after Trump assumed office. It seems Trump has no filter when it comes to common sense.
This is an impeachable offense. Obstruction of justice brought down Nixon, and it will bring down Trump.
Do I think this was an appropriate thing to do? No. I strongly approve only because it has caused more information about President Trump's possibly illegal activity. Was it good for him and his administration? No. Was it good for the future of the US? Yes, I believe it will be because it will help get him out of office sooner.
Trump...impetuous, bombastic, immature and lacking in judgment!
I believe the firing had everything to do with Russia and with Trump used to pushing people around and getting his own way didn't fathom this outcome.
He should have done it earlier. He was happy with Coney when he meddled in the election. Not so happy with him when he spoke in front of the Senate and refused to pledge himself to Trump. Looks fishy.
Trump and his team are only competent in one thing-- bungling things. They have a true talent for creating firestorms from the tiniest sparks. I've hoped Trump would be the the type of disruptive force that could get Washington moving again. But alas, he shows us over and over again that he and his team simply don't know what they're doing, or how to do it. Because of the administration's ineptitude, and his character flaws, I doubt Trump can pull out of this downward death spiral.
It is a few months too late. Should have been fired by Obama for influencing the election. Now It smells like a cover up firing.
Interestingly the Democrats wanted him fired, until Trump did it, and now they're all over him. Are they really that dumb or do they just think we are?
Running the country is not like running a business. No one gives your decisions in running a business a second glance. Every decision made in running the country is placed under a microscope.
Comey should have been fired on day ONE for not recommending Clinton's indictment. He admitted she broke the law; whether she did or didn't mean to was NOT his freakin call!
Pretty much the most suspicious thing Trump could have done. Pretty good at making a bad situation worse. There is a right way and a wrong way to replace public officials like this. This was the wrong way.
Donald Trump obviously fired James Comey because he was investigating the the 2016 election, which is illegal. It is not okay for the president to act this way.
It is clearly interfering with an ongoing investigation and an attempt to obstruct scrutiny into a highly sensitive area. First Sally Yates is terminated prematurely. Then Comey is terminated. The President admits the termination is regarding the FBI-Russia investigation. Flynn is fired for lying to Pence about Russia. It walks like a duck. Talks like a duck. Hmmm. It may be a duck. If this isn't obstruction of justice based on the President's own confession and the sequence of events, then I may not understand obstruction. Maybe the tapes the President suggests he has will illuminate us and exonerate or indict him. It bears investigation. Certainly, they need to be subpoenaed.
Firing Comey is the beginning of the end for Trump.