Donald Trump’s shocking decision to fire former FBI director James Comey raised eyebrows across the country.
It didn’t take long before experts began comparing Comey’s firing to the events leading up Watergate.
“President Trump’s firing of Director Comey sets a deeply alarming precedent as multiple investigations into possible Trump campaign or administration collusion with Russia remain ongoing, including an FBI investigation,” Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts said in a statement.
“This episode is disturbingly reminiscent of the Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate scandal and the national turmoil that it caused.”
“Not since Watergate have our legal systems been so threatened and our faith in the independence and integrity of those systems so shaken,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said in a statement.
But there are experts who say that Comey’s firing goes beyond Watergate.
Former CIA clandestine-services officer and national-security expert, Glenn Carle, said that it would be “catastrophic” if Trump fired Comey because he was against the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
Carle spoke with Business Insider and told them “Watergate was huge, but it was based on a criminal charge.” On the other hand Trump’s decision to fire Comey would be “borderline betrayal” if it were based on the Russia investigation.
Former ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, Richard Painter, also raised his concern of Trump’s decision.
“We cannot tolerate this — for the president to be firing people who are investigating him and his campaign and its collusion with the Russians,” Painter told Rolling Stone.
“It’s a lot worse than Watergate,” he said. “Watergate was a third-rate burglary. It was purely domestic in nature. This situation involves Russian espionage, and we’ve got to find out who is collaborating.”
Painter also spoke with CNN and said, “We didn’t have to worry about treason in the Watergate situation.”