MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A White House spokeswoman says President Donald Trump had considered firing FBI Director James Comey “since the day he was elected.”
He had said firing Comey was about how he handled the Clinton email investigation.
The president told reporters Wednesday that Comey’s performance cost him his job.
“He wasn’t doing a good job, very simply, he was not doing a good job,” Trump said.
The president’s comments came after a meeting with the Russian foreign minister.
The White House is facing backlash about the timing of the termination.
We learned Wednesday that Comey had recently asked for more resources in investigating whether Russia had a role in Trump’s campaign.
The White House says it encourages the FBI to complete its investigation, but it is unknown who will take over the case.
Democratic lawmakers are not buying the Trump administration’s story.
One week ago Wednesday, both of Minnesota’s U.S. Senators were questioning Comey about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Franken: What is your assessment of why the Russian government had a clear preference for President Trump?
Comey: One is he wasn’t Hilary Clinton.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar even asked Comey about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote the memo President Trump used as the basis for firing Comey.
Klobuchar: Because … Attorney General Sessions is recused from that and now Rod Rosenstein is approved, do you go to him then to get that approval?
[graphiq id=”6sGsaDIlxVr” title=”President Donald Trump” width=”600″ height=”505″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/6sGsaDIlxVr” frozen=”true”]
Klobuchar was among those condemning the firing Wednesday.
“The president can’t fire the United States Senate, and so we have an obligation here to get to the bottom of this,” Klobuchar said.
Both Senators Klobuchar and Franken are calling for an independent prosecutor to investigate the probe into the election, and into any ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Sen. Franken sees a parallel to Watergate.
“That … raises a lot of alarms and reminds me of some of our history, and we need to have a special prosecutor assigned now,” Franken said.
Congressman Keith Ellison also make the Watergate comparison, but argues the Comey firing is worse because it involves an investigation of a foreign country interfering in a U.S. election.
“The president has now fired the person who is going to help lead the discovery of the truth, and that’s disturbing to me,” Ellison said.
Minnesota Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen is one of the very few Republican members of Congress who are joining the Democratic call for an independent investigation.
Other Republicans are standing by the president, including the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, Jennifer Carnahan.
“The process is working exactly as it should,” Carnahan said.