U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette calls Comey’s firing “latest shenanigan” by Donald Trump
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette said Wednesday that the firing of FBI Director James Comey is the “latest shenanigan” by President Donald Trump’s administration amid investigations into his 2016 campaign’s ties to the Russian government.
“I think some Republicans are beginning to come to the realization that where there is smoke there is fire and we better get to the bottom of what’s going on here,” the Denver Democrat said after an event downtown. “No amount of firings or personnel changes by the Trump administration can mask that.”
DeGette is among a growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers who have raised suspicions about Comey’s termination amid the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s connections with Russia. She stopped short of saying that Comey was fired in order to halt the probe or hide revelations from surfacing, but said it “strains credibility.”
“For President Trump to fire him just on the heels of all the revelations of the connections between Russia and his campaign staff seems a little disingenuous at this point,” said DeGette, who is chief deputy whip. “And we’re quite concerned. I’m renewing my call today for an independent investigation because we really need to get to the bottom of what happened with the Trump campaign and Russia.”
“I think this latest shenanigan on their part only underscores how we need an independent investigation,” she added.
Trump abruptly fired Comey on Tuesday at the recommendation of senior Justice Department officials who said Comey had treated Hillary Clinton unfairly and in doing so damaged the credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department.
The startling development comes as Comey was leading a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether associates of Trump may have coordinated with Russia to interfere with the U.S. presidential election last year. It wasn’t immediately clear how Comey’s ouster will affect the Russia probe, but Democrats said they were concerned that his ouster could derail the investigation.
Colorado’s U.S. senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet both released written statements in the wake of Comey’s firing, calling for investigations into Russian influence and meddling in the 2016 presidential election to continue.
The pair also called for an independent voice at the helm of the bureau when Comey’s successor is named. While Bennet called for an independent prosecutor to probe Russian involvement in last year’s election, Gardner’s statement stopped short of urging an independent probe.
“The timing of Director Comey’s firing raises many questions,” said Bennet, a Democrat. “The next FBI director must be independent and relentless in seeking the truth. This underscores the need for an independent special prosecutor to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election and connections to the Trump campaign and administration.”
Gardner, a Republican, thanked Comey for his service and said there were thousands of immensely qualified FBI agents.
“The next director of the FBI, like Comey, must be an independent voice for the bureau — specifically for its continued investigation into Russia’s involvement with our election process,” Gardner said. “It’s important that the FBI investigation into Russia, along with the ongoing bipartisan Senate investigation, remain of the highest priority for this nation and I expect it will under the next director.”
A search for a new FBI director is underway.
“The FBI is one of our Nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Trump said in a White House statement.