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Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow on firing of FBI Director James Comey

May 10, 2017

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters joined Stateside today to react to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

“This is stunning and flies in the face of the Constitution in terms of accountability and checks and balances,” Stabenow said. “The President of the United States should not be able to do that.”  

She said the timing of this firing raises big questions.

“I mean, the idea after they fired Sally Yates when she raised the concerns about the National Security Advisor Flynn and his inappropriate relationship with Russia, and then now to fire the FBI director a little over a day before he was going to testify – tomorrow he was going to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee,” she said. “And so, they fire him right before he was going to do that, and we know that they have been ramping up the investigation.”

"This is stunning and flies in the face of the Constitution in terms of accountability and checks and balances." - Senator Stabenow

The White House indicates Comey lost his job because of how he dealt with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified emails.

Peters, however, said the President is using that as an excuse.

His question for President Trump now is this:

“If it was such an issue, why didn’t you fire him back in January?” Peters said. “We are now in May – many months have passed. He is just grabbing for an excuse.”

In fact, in the letter President Trump wrote to fire Comey, he added a strange paragraph. It reads, in part, “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation…” before it goes on to fire Comey.

“That tells me the President is definitely thinking about the Russian investigation,” Peters said. “And it’s just simply unprecedented to have an FBI director being fired in the midst of an investigation as to the possible involvement of the Trump administration with the Russians.”  

He said it appears the President is attempting to block “a serious, thoughtful investigation from going forward.”

“And this should trouble every American. This goes to the very core of our democracy,” he said.

Stabenow said she is not confident a new FBI director, appointed by the President, could be independent.

"And this should trouble every American. This goes to the very core of our democracy." - Senator Peters

“We need a special prosecutor – an independent person who will be able to call it as he or she sees it on behalf of the American people, follow wherever the evidence goes and determine what really happened, because we’re talking about a national security issue,” she said. “Russia is now using the cyber hacking to attack and undermine our very democracy.”

And it’s not only the United States facing attacks from Russia, Peters said.

“We saw the actions of the Russians in the French election as well,” he said. “This is a concerted effort by the Russians to undermine democratic governments in Europe and other places around the world.”

“This is a very, very serious issue for democracy and we can’t trust a political appointee to handle a very sensitive investigation, which is why I agree with Senator Stabenow. We need to have a special prosecutor that’s independent and with the transparency that the American people deserve.”

Listen above for the full interview with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. You’ll hear them explain what they think Congress can do now.

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