Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Former FBI Associate Deputy Director on James Comey's Firing

Former FBI Associate Deputy Director on James Comey's Firing

But on March 20, Comey informed Congress that the FBI was investigating possible coordination between members of the Trump campaign team and Russian Federation - a scenario the president dismissed as "fake news".

The state's Democratic senators and representatives have nearly all called for either a special prosecutor or an independent commission. On Tuesday, both he and the official now overseeing the probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, recommended that Trump fire Comey.

Defending the firing, White House officials said Mr Trump's confidence in the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief had been eroding for months.

"The process is working exactly as it should", Carnahan said.

"If there was ever a time when circumstances warranted a special prosecutor, it is right now", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday.

But several lawmakers - from both camps - are calling for the creation of a powerful independent commission of inquiry, with a full-time staff named jointly by Republican and Democrat leaders in Congress. Other alternatives for an independent investigation require congressional approval and, while Democrats are threatening to introduce legislation, a shot at success appears challenging. Plus, in most cases, the special counsel works in secret, with no assurance that the probe's findings will be made public. It was sent at the request of the White House to clarify the timing, but it raises more questions than it answers.

Options for an independent probe remain limited, and the only current avenue for such an appointment is in the hands of the Justice Department.

I understand the temptation for politicians to use the nomination and confirmation of a new Director as an opportunity to continue arguing about possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, Comey's impact on the election, and the criminal leaking of classified information to the media. "Problem is, as we all know, the special prosecutor is selected by the attorney general's office". Republicans contend existing bipartisan investigations underway in Congress are sufficient.

Burr, who is leading the Senate investigation, said Tuesday night that he was "troubled" by the timing and reasoning of Comey's firing and that the dismissal "further confuses an already hard investigation by our committee". But Congress let the law expire in 1999.

According to this former adviser, Comey's Senate testimony on the Clinton emails likely reinforced in Trump's mind that "Comey was against him".

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has repeatedly called for an independent investigation into Russian meddling with the USA presidential election, and other Republicans were coming out Tuesday and Wednesday in support of that idea.

Trump's stated reason for firing Comey was greeted with overwhelming skepticism from Democrats as well as some Republicans, and many United States political observers.

Democrats then convened a special caucus meeting and indicated they would attempt to delay committee hearings or in other ways slow down the business of the Senate to highlight their demands.

But Democrats criticizing Trump's stunning move say the two cases are similar because Comey was overseeing an FBI investigation into both Russia's hacking of Democratic groups past year and whether Trump campaign associates had ties to Moscow's election interference.

Andrew Arena, a former special agent in charge, said current FBI employees he spoke with as news of Comey's ouster spread anxious about the future of the bureau. The White House informed him by sending him an email with several documents, including Mr Rosenstein's memo.

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