May 12 2017
On Tuesday evening, I was working in the quiet car of an Amtrak Northeast Regional on my way home from Washington when I received a phone call from members of my staff. They told me that minutes ago President Trump had fired the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey.
Over the years, as chairman and then ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, I worked closely with the former FBI Director on a wide variety of issues, from cyber security to countering homegrown extremism and preventing lone wolf attacks. More recently, former FBI Director Comey and I worked together to address threats and violence toward Jewish Community Centers across the country, including the Siegel JCC in Wilmington.
President Trump’s decision raises more questions than it answers. Frankly, the timing is baffling. What changed since the president took office for him to lose confidence in Director Comey’s ability to do the job? Why did Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the investigation on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, recommend Director Comey be fired? Why did AG Sessions have any role in that decision?
One thing is clear. The investigation into Russia’s influence in the last election must continue. And we must appoint a special prosecutor to finish the job and ensure that any findings are not clouded by partisan controversy. At the same time, the FBI must move forward with its critical mission. We cannot allow former Director Comey’s termination to impede the investigation’s momentum or findings.
Soon, President Trump will nominate a new FBI Director and it will be up to the Senate to confirm the nominee. I strongly believe that Democrats and Republicans must come together to ensure that this nominee is beyond reproach, eminently qualified and totally independent in thought and deed.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
Americans deserve the truth, and I won’t stop fighting until we get just that.