Former Edmond Police Chief Reacts To Firing Of FBI Director James Comey
EDMOND, Oklahoma - One Oklahoman whose experience gives him unique insight into Pres. Donald Trump's sudden dismissal of James Comey as FBI Director is Edmond recently retired chief of police, Bob Ricks.
Ricks, who stepped down in February after more than 13 years leading the department, was an agent with the FBI twice as long, and says he still considers himself part of the Bureau.
Ricks says he only met Comey a couple of times, but was impressed with him and feels he's an honorable man. Still, Ricks believes Comey made a critical misstep, which justified the president's decision to terminate him.
"I think he overstepped what was the proper role of the FBI," said Ricks, "and entered into the political environment, which should never be the role of the FBI director."
Ricks was referring to Comey's news conference last summer, in which he discussed the findings of the FBI's probe into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and stated his belief that her actions did not warrant criminal charges.
"I think he got caught in unfortunate circumstances," Ricks explained, "where the Attorney General forced him, or at least asked him, to take on a political role, which he should have declined."
As for the timing of the firing, and whether it might be a move by Trump to derail the investigation into possible ties between his election campaign and Russia, Ricks says this will not stop the investigation.
"The director can guide, he can lead," Ricks stated, "but he really is not running an investigation, and I have no doubt that if there is anything to be found, that it will still be found by those who are still involved in the investigation."
For that reason, and others, Ricks says there is no need to appoint a special prosecutor to carry on the investigation, as many Democrats in Washington are calling for.
"I am so adamantly opposed to special prosecutors," said Ricks. "Every time I've seen a special prosecutor, they have to almost come up with a conviction to justify their existence, because they are going to spend multi millions of dollars and, in so many cases, these investigations go on for years and years."
As for Comey's successor, Ricks says he's heard a few names, but doesn't want to speculate. He just says the person must be completely independent.
"It's extremely important that we get an individual in there...that has demonstrated complete independence," Ricks said, "either as a prosecutor or as an FBI agent or as a police chief...and has demonstrated that they can be completely independent and withstand any political pressures that might be applied."