Sen, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a former chair and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey “Nothing less than Nixonian.”
“The President’s action, and the way it has been handled, is shocking,” Leahy said in a statement. “No one should accept President Trump’s absurd justification that he is now concerned that FBI Director Comey treated Secretary Clinton unfairly. The President in fact celebrated the Director’s egregious mistakes in that investigation”
Leahy noted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who the White House said recommended that Trump fire Comey — had promised to recuse himself from any investigations related to the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the presidential election. Leahy called for the appointment of a special investigator.
Read the full statement below:
The President’s action, and the way it has been handled, is shocking. No one should accept President Trump’s absurd justification that he is now concerned that FBI Director Comey treated Secretary Clinton unfairly. The President in fact celebrated the Director’s egregious mistakes in that investigation. That fig leaf explanation seeks to cover the undeniable truth: The President has removed the sitting FBI Director in the midst of one of the most critical national security investigations in the history of our country — one that implicates senior officials in the Trump campaign and administration. This is nothing less than Nixonian.
Given that the Attorney General supposedly recused himself from the Russia investigation, he should not have played any role in removing the lead investigator from his duties. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein now has no choice but to appoint a Special Counsel. His integrity, and the integrity of the entire Justice Department, are at stake.
The President’s letter, in which he refers to Russian interference and possible collusion with the President’s associates, is bizarre and raises troubling questions about the President’s motivations.
There simply is no avoiding the compelling fact that this cascading situation demands the prompt appointment of an independent Special Counsel to pick up the pieces of these investigations.