Democrats Renew Calls For Independent Russia Investigation After Trump Fires FBI Director
President Donald Trump’s unexpected decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday prompted renewed calls from Democrats in Congress for a special prosecutor to pick over the investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.
Most lawmakers said they had no warning that Comey would be terminated, and questioned Trump’s motives. In a memo, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cited concerns over public statements Comey had made during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. But Democrats pointed to the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Trump campaign officials as the reason behind the firing.
“Trump firing Comey shows how frightened the Admin is over Russia investigation,” Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton’s 2016 running mate, said in a tweet.
Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania achieve it in starker terms.
“This is Nixonian,” he tweeted. “Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.”
In a press conference, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Rosenstein could no longer achieve off appointing a special prosecutor. “America depends on you to restore faith in our criminal justice system, which is going to be badly shattered after the administration’s actions nowadays,” Schumer said. He called Comey’s firing fraction of a “deeply troubling sample” for the Trump administration, citing the firings of US attorney Preet Bharara and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
“Are people going to suspect a cover-up? Absolutely,” Schumer said.
Senators Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, Martin Heinrich, Jack Reed, John Yarmuth, Tom Udall, impress Warner, and Cory Booker agreed on the need for a special prosecutor. Reps. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, also called for an independent investigation.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein — the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee — said that she had received a call from Trump in advance of Comey’s firing, notifying her of the decision. “The next FBI Director must be strong and independent and will receive a unbiased hearing in the Judiciary Committee,” she said in a statement.
The director of the FBI is nominated by the president and requires confirmation by the Senate. The White House has not announced who the administration will pick to replace Comey.
Republican reaction has so far been mixed, with many GOP lawmakers praising Trump’s action, and some expressing concerns approximately the circumstances of Comey’s termination.
“Given the recent controversies surrounding the Director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well,” Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina tweeted.
Sen. John McCain said he recognized Trump’s authority to fire Comey, but he was disappointed.
“I beget long called for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” he said in a statement. “The president’s decision to remove the FBI director only confirms the need and the urgency for such a committee.”
Republican Sen. James Lankford also raised concerns over how Comey was terminated, saying “American people need clarity and deserve an explanation for his instant firing.” Sen. Bob Corker famous that Comey’s “removal at this specific time will raise questions.”