Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer issued a blistering response to Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, saying it’s the latest sign that the investigation into the president’s ties to Russia cannot be credible if the White House or Trump Justice Department has anything to do with it.
“This investigation must be run as far away as possible from this White House and as far away as possible from anyone that President Trump has appointed,” Schumer said.
Sen. Schumer: Russia investigation “must be run as far away as possible from this White House” and Trump appointees https://t.co/Mxl0KADAFR
— CNN (@CNN) May 9, 2017
Schumer’s full statement following the firing:
Earlier this afternoon, President Trump called me and informed me he was firing Director Comey
I told the President, ‘Mr. President, with all due respect, you are making a big mistake.’
The first question the administration has to answer is: why now?
If the administration had objections to the way Director Comey handled the Clinton investigation, they had those objections the minute the President got into office.
But they didn’t fire him then.
Why did it happen today?
We know that the House is investigating Russian interference in our election that benefitted the Trump campaign. We know the Senate is investigating. We know the FBI has been looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians — a very serious offense.
Were those investigations getting too close to home for the President?
It is troubling that Attorney General Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia investigation, played a role in firing the man leading it.
So what happens now?
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein sat in the Judiciary Committee and promised to appoint a special prosecutor at the appropriate time.
That time is right now.
The American people’s trust in our criminal justice system is in Mr. Rosenstein’s hands.
Mr. Rosenstein, America depends on you to restore faith in our criminal justice system, which is going to be badly shattered after the Administration’s actions today.
This is part of a deeply troubling pattern from the Trump administration. They fired Sally Yates. They fired Preet Bharara. And now they’ve fired Director Comey, the very man leading the investigation
This does not seem to be a coincidence.
This investigation must be run as far away as possible from this White House and as far away as possible from anyone that President Trump has appointed.
Given the way the President has fired Director Comey, any person who he appoints to lead the Russia investigation will be concerned that he or she will meet the same fate as Director Comey if they run afoul of the administration.
The American people need to have faith that an investigation as serious as this one is being conducted impartially, without a shred of bias.
The only way the American people can have faith in this investigation is for it to be led by a fearless, independent special prosecutor
If Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein does not appoint an independent special prosecutor, every American will rightly suspect that the decision to fire Director Comey was part of a cover-up.
As the Senate minority leader noted, Trump’s firing of Comey doesn’t just suggest that the White House is trying to obstruct an ongoing investigation, but it taints the entire FBI going forward.
Even if the best case scenario comes true and the president appoints a credible FBI director with bipartisan support, that person running the FBI will be constantly fearful that, like Schumer said, “will meet the same fate” as Comey.
As a result, it’s a near-impossibility that an investigation into this president’s ties to Russia can be carried out effectively by the FBI, which now seems to be under the thumb of this president.
The only option now is for this investigation to be separate from any institution or agency influenced by this corrupt administration.