Judiciary Dem calls for hearing on Trump’s FBI attacks
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold an oversight hearing on the Trump administration’s attacks on the FBI and Justice Department.
Leahy, a senior member on the committee, expressed his concern in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the panel’s chairman, on Saturday about what he called the “attempted politicization of the FBI.”
“Never has our Committee’s oversight authority of the Justice Department been more critical than now,” Leahy wrote.
“I fear the damage being done to the FBI, and to our nation’s institutions more broadly, will far outlast any current crises unless we take decisive, bipartisan action.”
Leahy’s call for a hearing came a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. President Trump quickly praised that decision on Twitter, accusing McCabe of corrupt tactics.
Leahy’s letter also came after John Dowd, a lawyer for Trump, issued a statement calling for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to end special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Dowd initially told the Daily Beast that he had issued the statement on behalf of the president, but later reversed on that claim, saying that he was speaking only in a personal capacity.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the FBI and Justice Department, accusing officials of mishandling high-profile investigations and working to undermine his presidency.
Mueller, whose investigative mandate gives him the authority to look into any peripheral matters that emerge as a result of the Russia probe, is also reportedly examining whether Trump has sought to obstruct the investigation.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Leahy blasted the president’s attacks on law enforcement officials, and expressed concern that Mueller’s investigation could also be at risk.
“I have never been so concerned that the walls intended to protect the independence of our dedicated law enforcement professionals, including Special Counsel Mueller, are at risk of crumbling,” he said.