State’s Washington delegation blasting Trump on Comey firing, Esty: Country on course for Constitutional crisis
HARTFORD — Members of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation condemned the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey amid the investigation into possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
“Let’s be clear about what just happened: The president of the United States fired the person leading the investigation into the president of the United States,” said U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District.
To a member, the delegation demanded an independent counsel be appointed to probe Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign in the wake of the firing of the FBI director.
“The firing of FBI Director James Comey should renew every American and every member of Congress’s call for an independent investigation into Russian involvement,” said U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has been calling for a special prosecutor for months.
“The need for a special prosecutor is now crystal clear. President Trump has catastrophically compromised the FBI’s ongoing investigation of his own White House’s ties to Russia,” he said. “Not since Watergate have our legal systems been so threatened, and our faith in the independence and integrity of those systems so shaken.”
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth H. Esty, D-5th District, said Trump’s firing of Comey sets the United States on course for a constitutional crisis.
“The American people cannot have confidence in an FBI investigation that bears on President Trump after the president himself handpicks the FBI’s new director,” she said.
Esty said Trump has been made repeated false statements designed to undermine the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the November election, including what she called a defamatory and grossly irresponsible allegation that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him.
She said she was also troubled that the White House announced Trump would be meeting today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Russian Lavrov just after the announcement of Comey’s firing.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, is a member of the House Intelligence Committee that is probing the possible Trump-Russia ties along with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey in the middle of an investigation into possible links and connections between Trump, his campaign and associates and Russia,” he said.
He said many people will be rightly skeptical of the Trump administration’s statements that Comey was fired over his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
In his brief letter Tuesday to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in the FBI.
The White House paired the letter with a scathing review by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of how Comey handled the investigation into Clinton’s email practices.
U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy said the explanation that Trump fired Comey over the Clinton investigation defies logic.
“No matter the mistakes that Director Comey has made, the timing of his firing clearly suggests that President Trump is trying to influence or upend the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with a foreign government,” he said.
Esty cited news reports that the FBI had started issuing subpoenas in its investigation of the president’s associates. She also observed the firing came two days before Comey was due to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney, D-2nd District, said the firing of Comey fails “the smell test,” and Trump’s explanation raises more doubt about the motives of this stunning development.
“It is painfully clear that we need an immediate and independent investigation of all aspects relating to Russia’s meddling in our election. We need a review that the American people can have faith in.”