DNC deputy chair Ellison: ‘We are witnessing a Constitutional crisis’

DNC deputy chair Ellison: ‘We are witnessing a Constitutional crisis’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said Tuesday that FBI Director James Comey’s firing is evidence of a “Constitutional crisis.”

“We are witnessing a Constitutional crisis unfold before our very eyes,” Ellison said in a statement Tuesday.

Ellison added that the circumstances around Comey’s exit, coming as the FBI investigates ties between Russia and President Trump's campaign, raise questions about his replacement’s credibility.

“The next FBI Director appointed by President Trump will not have the independence or confidence of the American people to continue this investigation,” he said.

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“In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation and the government, we need a special prosecutor to probe the possible collusion between Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE’s campaign and Russian government officials.”

DNC Chairman Tom Perez said that Trump’s firing of Comey is a “brazen and disgraceful abuse of power.”

“The fact that the leadership of the Justice Department was complicit in manufacturing this joke of a rationale for Comey’s dismissal at the request of the Trump is further evidence that nobody in this administration can be trusted to lead an investigation into a serious national security issue,” he said.

The White House announced Tuesday that Trump fired Comey following recommendations from the Department of Justice over his handling of the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE's treatment of classified emails.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIntel leaders: Collusion still open part of investigation Republicans jockey for position on immigration Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators MORE and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, pushed for the move.

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to lead the bureau,” Trump wrote in a letter to Comey dated Tuesday. 

“It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”

The White House added that a search for a new permanent FBI director would “begin immediately.”

The firing sent waves across Washington on Tuesday, with many questioning the timing of Comey’s firing.

Comey announced in March that the FBI was probing alleged coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential race.