GOP Intelligence chairman troubled by Trump's firing of FBI director

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrGOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties North Carolina congressman says he won't seek reelection after redistricting Senate passes bipartisan bill to permanently fund historically black colleges MORE (R-N.C.) said Tuesday he is “troubled by the timing and reasoning” of President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.

“I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the committee,” Burr said in a statement.

The chairman is leading a Senate investigation into Russia’s influence over the 2016 presidential election.  

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“In my interactions with the director and with the bureau under his leadership, he and the FBI have always been straightforward with our committee,” Burr said. “Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees.”

Burr’s statement, along with statements of concerns Tuesday evening by two other Republican chairmen, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBudowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat MORE (R-Ariz.) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Tenn.), raises pressure on Republicans to endorse the appointment of a special prosecutor or the creation of an independent committee to examine Russia’s influence on domestic politics.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play House Democrats to vote on flavored e-cigarettes ban next year MORE (R-Ky.) has for months steadfastly refused to endorse the appointment of a special prosecutor or independent commission to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election or Russia’s ties to senior advisors to President Trump.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Watchdog report finds FBI not motivated by political bias in Trump probe Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat MORE (Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence panel, on Tuesday said Trump’s firing of Comey underscores the need for a special counsel.

“That’s the only way the American people will be able to trust the results of the DOJ investigation,” he said in a statement. “The only way this administration can begin to demonstrate a commitment to the rule of law, which has so far been sorely lacking, is to cooperate fully with the ongoing congressional investigations and to support the appointment of an independent counsel,” Warner said.

Trump fired Comey based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
 
Trump argued in a letter to Comey, released by the White House, that the FBI needs a new leader so it can restore "pubic trust and confidence."
  
Comey has meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee several times since it started its investigation and was scheduled to testify later this week as part of an annual public hearing on worldwide threats. 
 
Burr is the latest high-profile GOP senator to distance himself from the announcement. GOP Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and John McCain (Ariz.) also offered tepid reactions to Trump's move.
 
Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, said the timing of the firing would raise questions, while McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said he was "disappointed" in the decision. 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sidestepped weighing directly into the firing decision. 
 
Jordain Carney contributed.