Brennan Center Responds to Trump’s Firing of James Comey

May 9, 2017

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law released the following statement tonight after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey:

“This is an assault on the rule of law. The president has dismissed the chief law enforcement officer probing whether the president's advisors colluded with a hostile foreign government to influence our elections,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center. “It poses an extraordinary test of our democracy. Members of Congress must stand up for country and not party. They must denounce this deeply troubling act and insist on a truly independent investigation.” 

The following Brennan Center team members with expertise in the FBI, oversight of intelligence activities, national security, and the presidency are available to comment:

  • Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center, is a recognized expert on the presidency. From his perspective of seven years as a senior White House aide, he can discuss how Trump’s decision departs from traditional rules and norms that have guided past presidents.
  • Michael German, a Brennan Center fellow, is a sixteen-year veteran of federal law enforcement who served as a special agent with the FBI, where he focused on domestic terrorism cases and covert operations. He twice infiltrated extremist groups using constitutionally sound law enforcement techniques, and left the Bureau after reporting ongoing deficiencies in FBI counterterrorism operations to Congress.
  • Elizabeth (Liza) Goitein is the co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. She focuses on a range of issues at the intersection of national security policy and civil liberties, including surveillance practices of law enforcement agencies like the FBI. She’s also an expert on oversight mechanisms in place for intelligence activities.
  • Faiza Patel is the co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. She focuses on national security and counterterrorism issues. She has testified before Congress opposing the dragnet surveillance of Muslims, written reports on surveillance techniques, and developed legislation creating an independent Inspector General for the NYPD.
  • Wendy Weiser is the director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, which focuses on issues including voting rights and elections, money in politics, government dysfunction, and fair courts. She founded the center's Voting Rights and Elections Project, directing litigation, research, and advocacy efforts to enhance political participation and prevent voter disenfranchisement around the country. 
  • Nicole Austin-Hillery is director and counsel of the Brennan Center's Washington, D.C., office. She is the organization's chief liaison to Congress and the Administration, serving as an advocate for the Brennan Center on a host of justice and democracy issues. She provides both strategic and advocacy counsel ranging from legislative analysis to policy development. 
  • Alicia Bannon is a senior counsel in the Brennan Center's Democracy Program. She leads the Center's fair courts work, which promotes measures to protect judicial independence and guard against outsized special interest influence in state and federal judicial systems. She has authored several nationally-recognized reports and articles on judicial selection, government dysfunction, and access to justice.
  • Lawrence Norden is deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, where his work focuses on everything from money in politics to voting to government dysfunction. He is an expert in election infrastructure and technology, and has authored several notable reports on law and democracy. 

To set up an interview with any of the experts above, please contact Rebecca Autrey at or 646-292-8316.