Democratic and progressive leaders are responding to President Trump’s firing of F.B.I. Director James Comey, with a growing chorus calling for a special prosecutor and an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections and complicity of the Trump campaign. From The Washington Post:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “We know the FBI has been looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?…If Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein does not appoint an independent prosecutor, every American will rightly suspect that the decision to fire Director Comey was part of a cover-up.”
Al Franken: “I am also deeply troubled by the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who pledged to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his own Russia connections, involved himself in Director Comey’s firing. This is a complete betrayal of his commitment to the public that he wouldn’t be involved in the investigation…“We cannot trust an investigation led by this administration. And it’s now clearer than ever that we need an independent investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.”
Kirsten Gillibrand: “No more excuses: We need an independent special prosecutor to investigate the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia.”
Maggie Hassan: “This episode reinforces the need for both a special prosecutor as well as a thorough Congressional investigation to get to the bottom of Russia’s interference and any connection to President Trump’s campaign in order to ensure complete confidence in our democratic institutions.”
Sen. Kamala Harris: “we must have a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI’s Russia investigation. This cannot wait.”
Ed O’Keefe reports, also at The Washingon Post,
“The President’s sudden and brazen firing of the FBI Director raises the ghosts of some of the worst Executive Branch abuses,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday night…She added in her statement, “The interests of justice demand Congress act immediately to create an independent, bipartisan commission to pursue the Trump-Russia investigation free from the Administration’s attempts to silence it.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) expressed a similar view. “Now more than ever, we need an independent investigation into Russian ties to ensure American people can have full confidence in findings,” he said Tuesday. The phrase “now more than ever” appeared in many other statements issued by Democrats on Tuesday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “We need an independent investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.”
…On Sunday night at a fundraising dinner for Iowa Democrats in Des Moines, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) earned cheers and a partial standing ovation when the emcee reminded the crowd that the senator was one of the first Democrats to call for an independent probe. Later, Klobuchar mentioned her support for an independent investigation during her speech and earned another round of hearty applause.
…“Democrats and Republicans who still have dignity should grind government to a halt until a special prosecutor is named,” tweeted Jon Favreau, a speechwriter for President Barack Obama who now co-hosts a podcast popular with progressives.
Trump has blundered his Administration into a constitutional crisis, inviting comparisons to Nixon’s ‘Saturday night massacre.’ Even some Republicans are beginning to embrace the need for a special prosecutor and an indepenent commission as the only way to sort out Trump’s latest disaster. That may take some time, but at least Democrats are unified in pressing the case. If any party benefits from the reverberations of this latest mess in the 2018 midterms, it will likely be the Democrats.