Promoting his new book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday and discussed his biggest issues with the Trump presidency so far: the President’s handling of former FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“The Comey firing. The timing of it. You can fire the FBI director, but you could have said ‘Last year, he did things he shouldn’t have done. The way he handled the campaign wasn’t good.’ But, the reason given, ‘Hey, the Russia investigation,’ that should have set off more alarm bells than it did and I think going forward we ought to be careful,” he said.
He said it would be a “real concern” if Attorney General Jeff Sessions were fired and that fellow conservatives in Congress “can’t stand” for the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller — who is leading the probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election — if it were to happen.
“That certainly wouldn’t be tolerated on Capitol Hill,” he said.
His comments come as the President publicly bashed his attorney general for a full week, calling him “beleaguered” and “weak” and saying he wouldn’t have hired Sessions if he had known he was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Some critics have raised concern that if Trump fired Sessions, he would bring in a new attorney general who would fire Mueller.
Flake also raised issue with the way the President has handled foreign policy, adding he has “tremendous confidence” in Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
He said Congress is looking to newly minted Chief of Staff John Kelly to bring some order to the White House.
“Being a conservative means something in terms of demeanor and comportment. A conservative is nothing if, particularly in foreign policy, if he’s not measured and sober and predictable. Our allies need to know that. We need to embrace our allies and recognize our adversaries, and to do otherwise is not conservative,” he said.
“Chaos is the last thing that our allies and adversaries need to be seeing. And I’m afraid they’re seeing too much of that. … I think that we need to respect and utilize — to hold our place in the world, and I wonder about our standing around the world now,” he said.