Some Congressional Democrats compared FBI Director James Comey’s firing to the famous “Saturday Night Massacre” during Watergate. Top Democrats on the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging the FBI to retain all Russia investigation documents and not share them with the Trump administration.
Democrats savaged the president’s decision, calling it “Nixonian,” “mind-boggling” and “a cover-up,” reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.
“If there was any question about the need for a special prosecutor, there is none now,” Blumenthal said.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused the Trump administration of systematically silencing law enforcement leaders who cross them.
“They fired Sally Yates. They fired Preet Bharara. And now they fired Director Comey, the very man leading the investigation. This does not seem to be a coincidence,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
Schumer got a phone call from Mr. Trump and said he told the president the decision was a big mistake. Mr. Trump responded on Twitter: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer stated recently, ‘I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.’ Then acts so indignant.”
Some Republicans were scathing too. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said on Twitter: “I’ve spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey’s firing. I just can’t do it.”
But other Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham argued the FBI needs a “fresh start” after Comey got tangled up in the 2016 campaign.
“The investigation is going forward both at the FBI and in the Senate Intelligence Committee in a bipartisan way,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said on Fox News.
And yet the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Comey’s “dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation.”
Comey was scheduled to testify on Thursday.
“Is he still going to attend?” Cordes asked.
“I doubt if he’ll attend on Thursday but it is still my strong desire to have now-former director Comey to come and testify before the committee,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said.
Whoever Mr. Trump names to replace Comey will need to go through a Senate confirmation hearing. Adding to Democratic concerns of a bias appointment are the new rules of the Senate, which allow Republicans to approve a new FBI director with a simple majority. In 2013, 93 of the 100 senators voted yes to appoint Comey.