Franken rips Sessions for encouraging Comey firing

Franken rips Sessions for encouraging Comey firing
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Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix Richard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad Bill Clinton says 'norms have changed' in society for what 'you can do to somebody against their will' MORE (D-Minn.) hit Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report Trump backs down in rare reversal Senate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump MORE on Tuesday for recommending that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days: report Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report DOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report MORE fire FBI Director James Comey, calling it a "complete betrayal" of his vow to recuse himself from investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“I am also deeply troubled by the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who pledged to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his own Russia connections, involved himself in Director Comey’s firing,” Franken said in a statement. “This is a complete betrayal of his commitment to the public that he wouldn’t be involved in the investigation.”

Sessions in March recused himself from any investigations into Russia’s election interference following reports that he was in contact with Moscow’s U.S. envoy during the campaign.

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Trump on Tuesday said he fired Comey following the recommendations of Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, citing concerns about Comey’s judgment over the bureau's investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump mocks 'elites' at campaign rally Trump backs down in rare reversal Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral MORE’s use of a private email server.

However, Franken and other lawmakers suggested the firing was not related to Clinton's emails, but the FBI's probe into Russia's interference in the election.

“It is deeply troubling that President Trump just fired the person in charge of investigating his ties to Russia, and the President’s stated reasons for firing Director Comey are difficult to believe,” Franken said.  “We know that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, that they did so to undermine confidence in American democracy and that they wanted Donald Trump to become President. The intelligence community has confirmed that.”

Franken said the White House has called its objectivity into question and advocated for an independent body to lead the Russia investigation.

He also called for an independent investigation, echoing Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's America fights back Mellman: Trump can fix it GOP strategist Steve Schmidt denounces party, will vote for Democrats MORE (R-Ariz.) and other lawmakers.