WASHINGTON, D.C.–On Wednesday, following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls for a special prosecutor or independent commission to investigate the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during last year’s presidential election.
McConnell chastised Democrats for their hypocrisy and pointed out that they were critical of Comey’s firing after repeatedly knocking his performance while they were trying to get their candidate, Hillary Clinton, elected.
“Today, we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “Partisan calls should not delay the considerable work of Chairman Burr and vice Chairman Warner. Too much is at stake.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has been leading the Democratic Party’s calls for a special prosecutor.
Speaking of Comey’s handling of the FBI investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server and her mishandling of classified information, MConnell said:
It is clear what our Democratic colleagues thought of it, both at that time and consistently thereafter. Last year, the current Democratic leader [Chuck Schumer] said it appeared an appalling act — one that, he said, goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every level of government. And the prior Democratic leader, when asked if James Comey should resign given his conduct of the investigation, he replied, ‘of course, yes.’
McConnell went on to say, “Our Democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an FBI director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized. That removal being done by a man, Rod Rosenstein, whom they repeatedly and effusively praised.” Rosenstein is the acting Deputy Attorney General. McConnell said, “Mr. Rosenstein recommended Comey’s removal for many of the very reasons that they consistently complained about.”
McConnell noted that Rosenstein was confirmed in a bipartsian vote of 94 to 6.
Schumer took the floor after McConnell and repeated many of he same lines he used yesterday:
The president fired the Director of the FBI Jim Comey, who was leading an active investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. The president offered no reasoning for the firing other than he had the recommendation of his attorney general who has already had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
The question is, why did it happen last night? We know the director was leading an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Serious offense. Were those investigations getting too close to home for the president?
Schumer again called for a special prosecutor. “If there was ever a time when circumstances warranted a special prosecutor, it is right now.”
Also on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said President Donald Trump “made the right decision at the right time” with Tuesday’s announcement that he fired Comey.
“The administration is very confident that with the appointment of a new director of the FBI, [and] because of the president’s strong leadership, we’ll be able to give the nation’s leading law enforcement agency a fresh start,” Pence told a handful of reporters in the nation’s Capitol. “And because of the president’s decisive action yesterday to restore confidence and trust of the American people, we have an opportunity for a new beginning at the FBI.”