Schumer demands assurances on Russia probe after Trump fires FBI chief

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is calling for an “impartial and independent” investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election following President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Schumer outlined Democratic demands in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, voicing concern that the “subject” of the FBI’s investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia may try to “quash” the probe.

“The only thing we are seeking is that the investigations are carried out in an impartial and independent way, that we get all the facts,” Schumer said. “All we are seeking is some assurance that the subject of this investigation is not able to influence it or, God forbid, quash it.”

Schumer said Democrats agreed to three priorities in a closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday: that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, should not be the one to appoint a special prosecutor for an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election; that Comey needs to meet with the Senate; and that Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should meet separately with senators. 
{mosads}Schumer — crediting Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee — said if a special prosecutor for the FBI’s investigation is named, the “highest-serving career civil servant” should pick the individual. 
“Serious doubts have been cast on Mr. Rosenstein’s impartiality,” he said. “Mr. Rostenstein signed his name to a highly political memo arguing for Director Comey’s dismissal.” 
Senate GOP leadership has shown no sign that it has reversed course and would support a special counsel for the investigation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also not addressed Schumer’s request, originally made on Wednesday morning, for Sessions and Rosenstein to meet with senators.
Schumer repeated the demand on Wednesday afternoon, adding that “they should do it soon because the questions are just swirling about.” 
Democrats are signaling that they are willing to slow down the Senate in a bid to get leverage in the fight over Comey’s firing. They blocked a routine request for committees to meet earlier Wednesday, sparking GOP frustration. 
Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) have invited Comey to testify next week as part of a closed-door hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), another member of the Intelligence panel, has also publicly called on Comey to testify.
Schumer praised the move, arguing it was the “right thing” to do. 
“We ought to hear from Mr. Comey. At this moment [there is] a profound doubt about the reasons and timing of FBI Director Comey’s firing by the president, about the status and progress of the very serious investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia by his agency. We require answers,” Schumer said.
Tags Chuck Schumer Dianne Feinstein Jeff Sessions Mark Warner Mitch McConnell Richard Burr Ron Wyden

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