GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – The Minnesota Congressional Delegation is reacting to President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.
The White House said Tuesday Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended to the president that he fire Comey after mishandling the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
In his letter to Comey, Trump said the former FBI director lost the confidence of the American people, despite Trump praising his handling of the investigation in the past.
“I regret that that took place,” said Republican Senator John McCain of the decision. “The president does have that authority so I respect that,” McCain told NBC News.
In a statement, McCain added that Comey is a "man of honor" and believed his firing confirmed the need for a special commission to investigate Russia's meddling in the presidential election.
KARE 11 reached out to every member of the Minnesota congressional delegation but only heard back from some Democrats. Their responses are below.
Senator Amy Klobuchar/(D) Minnesota:
“The dismissal of the FBI Director raises serious questions, especially as Trump campaign officials are under investigation by the FBI. The American people deserve the facts and to know that decisions made by the Department of Justice are based on those facts, no matter who and no matter what they might lead to. This is clear: We need an independent commission and a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of Russian interference in our election."
Senator Al Franken/(D) Minnesota:
“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.
“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.
“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. This is a complete betrayal of his commitment to the public that he wouldn’t be involved in the investigation.
“We cannot trust an investigation led by this administration. And it's now clearer than ever that we need an independent investigation into Trump's ties to Russia.”
Rep. Eric Paulsen/(R) Eden Prairie
“Maintaining public trust in the integrity of our elections as well as our institutions, such as the FBI, is of the utmost importance. For 10 months, the FBI has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. The extraordinary decision to fire Director Comey definitely raises questions which must be answered. I believe these circumstances call for an independent investigation that the American people can trust with confidence.”
Rep. Keith Ellison/(D) Minneapolis:
“We are witnessing a Constitutional crisis unfold before our very eyes. On March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed under oath that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for its involvement with Russian officials to influence our election. Today, President Trump fired him.
"The next FBI Director appointed by President Trump will not have the independence or confidence of the American people to continue this investigation. In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation and the government, we need a special prosecutor to probe the possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian government officials."
Rep. Tim Walz/(D) Mankato:
“As I called for back in February, we immediately need a special prosecutor to ensure an independent investigation into the Putin-ordered Russian attack on our democracy, including but not limited to any relevant ties between anyone associated with then-Candidate Donald Trump and Russia.
“Last Wednesday, Director Comey warned us that Russia presents 'the greatest threat of any nation on Earth' to our democratic process. Given his abrupt firing today by the President, our most urgent and existential questions remain. Did this White House coordinate with a foreign government to win an election?
“In the face of such a fundamental threat to our national sovereignty, the Congress cannot stay quiet any longer. We must assert our own independence as a separate but coequal branch of our government. We must exert our constitutional oversight authority to the fullest extent possible. It is our duty to do so.
“Republicans in Congress need to put country over party and join with Democrats immediately to defend our democracy.”
Rep. Betty McCollum/(D) St. Paul:
"President Donald Trump’s impulsive and unprecedented decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in the middle of an investigation of President Trump and his associates is a transparent attempt to obstruct justice.
No one appointed by President Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions can now be trusted to either impartially investigate Trump and his associates or, if necessary, hold them accountable. We urgently need a special prosecutor appointed to oversee a full and thorough investigation of President Trump, his associates, and their close ties to Russia."