Congress members react to Comey firing

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Virginia’s U.S. senators and Congress members representing the Northern Shenandoah Valley reacted differently to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey over the last two days.

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following statement on Comey’s dismissal.

“The FBI is the premier law enforcement agency in the world and it is critical to have a director who holds the trust of the American people,” Goodlatte stated. “It is clearly the President’s prerogative to remove the FBI Director, as was recommended by the top two officials at the Department of Justice.

“I would like to thank Director Comey for his many years of faithful service, and I look forward to working closely with the White House to identify a suitable successor as quickly as possible,” Goodlatte went on to state.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, released a statement that contrasted with Goodlatte’s.

“Both Democrats and Republicans attacked the FBI Director at various times for various reasons and called for his ouster,” Comstock stated. “However, I can’t defend or explain tonight’s actions or timing of the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

“The FBI investigation into the Russian impact on the 2016 election must continue,” Comstock went on to state. “There must be an independent investigation that the American people can trust.”

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., echoed Comstock’s concerns in his statement released Tuesday that went on to accuse the White House of a cover up.

“It’s outrageous to see a sitting President fire the FBI director during an active investigation into potential collusion with a foreign government,” Kaine stated. “The decision to fire James Comey shows how frightened the Administration is over the Russia investigation.

“The White House decision to seek Attorney General Sessions’ recommendation also raises questions about whether he has fully recused himself from the Russia investigation,” Kaine went on to state. “This adds to a disturbing pattern by the White House to cover up the truth, which draws inescapable comparisons to the Nixon era. A special prosecutor that is completely independent and whose mandate is not directed by the Attorney General is needed to get to the bottom of whether the Trump campaign, transition team, or Administration colluded with the Russian government.”

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., who also serves as vice chairman on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, joined others to call on the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.

“The President’s actions today are shocking,” Warner stated. “It is deeply troubling that the President has fired the FBI director during an active counterintelligence investigation into improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“The administration insists there’s no ‘there there,’ yet President Trump has so far fired the acting Attorney General, nearly every U.S. attorney, and now the Director of the FBI,” Warner went on to state. “In addition, this President’s choice for Attorney General has been forced to recuse himself, and the National Security Advisor has resigned, as a result of undisclosed contacts with Russian officials.”

Warner urged for the completion of the investigation and that leaders hear from Comey.

“The President’s actions today make it clear to me that a Special Counsel also must be appointed,” Warner stated. “That’s the only way the American people will be able to trust the results of any DOJ investigation. The only way this Administration can begin to demonstrate a commitment to the rule of law, which has so far been sorely lacking, is to cooperate fully with the ongoing congressional investigations and to support the appointment of an independent special counsel.”

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