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Franken rips Sessions for encouraging Comey firing

Franken rips Sessions for encouraging Comey firing
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Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenSenate GOP beats expectations with expanded majority Democrat Smith wins in Minnesota, will serve remainder of Franken term Harvey Weinstein accused of sexually assaulting 16-year-old girl: reports MORE (D-Minn.) hit Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report Acting AG will meet with DOJ ethics officials to discuss possible recusal: reports Swalwell calls acting AG an 'assassin' hired to 'take out' Mueller probe MORE on Tuesday for recommending that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups 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 ClintonSinema invokes McCain in Senate acceptance speech Sinema defeats McSally in Arizona Senate race Hillicon Valley: Social media struggles with new forms of misinformation | US, Russia decline to join pledge on fighting cybercrimes | Trump hits Comcast after antitrust complaint | Zuckerberg pressed to testify before global panel 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 McCainSinema invokes McCain in Senate acceptance speech Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — Medicaid expansion gets extra boost from governors' races | Utah's expansion to begin April 1 | GOP lawmaker blames McCain for Dems winning House Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump's Armistice Day trip marked by controversy | US ends aerial refueling to Saudi coalition in Yemen | Analysts identify undeclared North Korean missile bases MORE (R-Ariz.) and other lawmakers.