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Colorado Democratic attorney general candidates sound alarm over Comey’s testimony about Trump

Author: Ernest Luning - June 8, 2017 - Updated: June 9, 2017

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Former FBI Director James Comey arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Former FBI Director James Comey arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The three Democrats running for Colorado attorney general in next year’s election expressed varying degrees of alarm over fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on Thursday before a Senate committee about repeated contacts with President Donald Trump.

State Rep. Joe Salazar said Americans “should be ashamed of this administration.” Candidate Phil Weiser, a former dean of the CU Law School, said the testimony “tests our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.” And career prosecutor Michael Dougherty stressed his campaign’s theme that prosecutors should avoid politics, calling the hearing “yet another example of the chaos and distrust in Washington, D.C.”

The incumbent attorney general, Republican Cynthia Coffman, was busy working during the Comey hearing and hadn’t had a chance to listen to the nearly three hours of testimony, a spokeswoman for her office said.

Salazar told Colorado Politics he watched Comey’s testimony — the major broadcast and cable networks carried the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing live — “along with millions of other horrified Americans.”

The Thornton Democrat said he believes Comey was telling the truth when he said Trump had attempted to derail an FBI investigation into his former national security advisor and that the president had fired Comey to curtail an investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election.

“Also, I took note of the several times Comey testified that the Trump administration lied to the American public,” Salazar said. “The mere fact that Comey had to write memos about his conversations with the president because he feared Trump would lie should be concerning to our country.”

“I believe this moment in our country is one of the darkest moments in presidential history. As a country, we should be ashamed of this administration and ashamed that this man holds the position of president of the United States,” Salazar said.

Pointing to Comey’s sworn testimony, Weiser charged that Trump “has threatened the rule of law.”

“Today is a day that tests our nation’s commitment to the rule of law,” Weiser said. “Responsible political leaders must recognize that no one is above the rule of law. In our constitutional democracy, no one gets a pass because they are friends or allies with the powerful or wealthy. By directing law enforcement to call off an appropriate investigation and by firing the FBI director for overseeing such an investigation, President Trump has threatened the rule of law. Remaining silent about this action or, worse yet, excusing it weakens our constitutional system.”

Dougherty, the deputy district attorney for the 1st Judicial District, which covers Jefferson and Gilpin counties, said the hearing raised more questions than it answered.

“This country should be led by those who will work hard to maintain the integrity and trust of the people we serve,” he told Colorado Politics. “Today’s hearing is yet another example of the chaos and distrust in Washington, D.C., which only leaves citizens asking more questions without answers. It is critical that further inquiry into this matter is done with utmost integrity and thoroughness.”

“I am a public servant of the State of Colorado, I take my oath very seriously, and if I am elected to serve as our state’s attorney general, Coloradans can rest assured that I will always be direct and honest with them about our work,” Dougherty added. “Politics have no place in the (attorney general’s) office or in any judicial proceeding and I am committed to maintaining that policy moving forward.”

— Ernest.Luning@coloradopolitics.com

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.


One comment

  • Tannim

    June 9, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    So we know these can-DUD-ates are not electable for AG because they place politics before duty.

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