CNN's Toobin calls Comey firing a 'grotesque abuse of power'

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin blasted President Donald’s Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, calling it a "grotesque" abuse of power and questioning what kind of country the United States is. 

“[This is] a grotesque abuse of power, by the president of the United States,” Toobin, the network's senior legal analyst, said to Wolf Blitzer.

“This is the kind of thing that goes on in non-democracies,” Toobin continued. “That when there is an investigation that reaches near the president of the United States, or the leader of a non-democracy, they fire the people who are in charge of the investigation."

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The White House issued a press release on Tuesday saying that Comey had been terminated and removed from office.

"The president has accepted the recommendation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Sean Spicer told reporters the same day.

The decision was made, the White House said, because of how Comey had handled the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE's use of a private email server as secretary of State.

Democrats, however, immediately cast the decision as an effort by Trump to thwart an investigation by the FBI into any ties between Trump officials and Russia, which the intelligence community says meddled in the U.S. election to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

Toobin told Blitzer that he hadn’t seen anything comparable since 1973, when President Richard Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor for the Watergate scandal. He also argued that while the president did have the legal authority to fire the director of the FBI, this was a “political act.”

“When his White House counsel was described yesterday as being told that his national security adviser was subject to blackmail by the Russians,” Toobin said. "And they fired the attorney general a few days later. Now they fired the FBI director. I mean, what kind of country is this?"