Sen. Michael Bennet is leading Colorado’s Democratic delegation to Washington calling for a special prosecutor into Russian connections to Donald Trump’s campaign last year. The calls came after the president’s firing of FBI director James Comey, allegedly for treating Hillary Clinton unfairly during last year’s campaign.
As he did across the nation, Trump goaded chants of “lock her up” in Colorado on the campaign trail last year in regards to Clinton’s alleged handling of the classified e-mails on her private server. Comey roiled the election, to Trump’s advantage, by raising questions about the investigation publicly in the final days before the election.
But speaking of timing, Trump’s move came a day after former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates put questions about what the administration knew and when they knew it back on front pages and front and center on the 24-hour news cycle.
Tuesday evening, Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver spoke of timing and the investigation into Russia’s role in last year’s election, what the administration knew and when they knew it. And when people Washington start talking that way, it’s usually not good for the knowers or knewers.
“The timing of Director Comey’s firing raises many questions,” he said in a statement. “The next FBI director must be independent and relentless in seeking the truth.
“This underscores the need for an independent special prosecutor to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election and connections to the Trump campaign and administration.”
Wednesday morning, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Yuma, who has been critical of Trump in the past, said the investigation into Russia must remain a high priority, but stopped short of calling for an independent prosecutor.
“I thank James Comey for his service to this country and work at the FBI,” Gardner said. “There are several thousand immensely qualified people working for the FBI and the next director of the FBI, like Comey, must be an independent voice for the bureau – specifically for its continued investigation into Russia’s involvement with our election process.
“It’s important that the FBI investigation into Russia, along with the ongoing bipartisan Senate investigation, remain of the highest priority for this nation and I expect it will under the next director.”
U.S. Rep Mike Coffman, a Republican from Aurora, said he was surprised by Trump’s decision.
“I have long felt that Director Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation was inappropriate and that he was no longer fit to serve as the director of the FBI,” Coffman said in a statement Wednesday morning. “The timing of the president’s decision, however, does concern me. I think it may create the appearance that Comey was fired due to his role in the investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. I hope the president appoints a new director whose stature is such that it restores American people’s confidence in the independence and integrity of the FBI.”
U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette on Denver, Jared Polis of Boulder and Ed Perlmutter of Arvada weighed in on Twitter.
Perlmutter came out swinging the hardest: “Clearly @realDonaldTrump is hiding something. Now more than ever we need an independent special prosecutor to lead this investigation,” he wrote.
#ComeyFiring provides yet more reason for independent inquiry into Trump-Russia-election ties. Too many unresolved questions, much mistrust.
— Rep. Diana DeGette (@RepDianaDeGette) May 10, 2017
Colorado Springs Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Trump ally. also hasn’t issued a statement, though in the past week he has issued remarks praising Trump’s executive order on religious liberty and Lamborn’s support for the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Obamacare health-care policy. Republicans Ken Buck of Windsor, a former Weld County prosecutor, and Scott Tipton of Cortez were mum on Comey.
With the firing of FBI Director Comey, the need for an Independent Commission to investigate the Russian connection is now absolutely vital
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) May 9, 2017
Editor’s note: This blog was updated to include remarks from Gardner and Coffman.