Franken rips Sessions for encouraging Comey firing

Franken rips Sessions for encouraging Comey firing
© Getty Images

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the Democrats' last best hope of preserving a House majority Franken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour MORE (D-Minn.) hit Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE on Tuesday for recommending that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket A year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low 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 McCainKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities Sinema, Manchin curb Biden's agenda MORE (R-Ariz.) and other lawmakers.