Leahy Presses FBI Director Comey On The Need For An Independent Investigation Into Russian Interference In 2016 Election

Senator Patrick Leahy Wednesday pressed FBI Director James Comey for more information on the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which U.S. intelligence agencies have unanimously concluded was intended to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process” and to help President Trump win the election.  Leahy questioned Comey at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight responsibilities over the FBI.  Leahy has insisted on a full, fair, and independent investigation to provide the American people with the facts about Russia’s efforts and possible connections to the Trump campaign and administration.

Leahy asked Director Comey why Comey himself, when serving as Deputy Attorney General, had appointed a Special Counsel in a politically sensitive case in 2003‎.  Comey explained “that [case] involved the conduct of people who were senior level people within the White House and my judgement was that even I as an independent minded person was a political appointee, so I ought to give it to a career person like Pat Fitzgerald.”  Leahy has repeatedly argued that for similar reasons, Trump administration attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation demand the protections of a Special Counsel, who cannot be fired by the President.

Leahy warned in February:  “Nothing less than the integrity of our democracy is at stake with this investigation,” and he has repeatedly called for a Special Counsel to lead a nonpartisan and thorough investigation into connections between Trump officials and the Russian government.  He has emphasized the importance of an independent investigation free of partisan influence.  Leahy called for the Attorney General to recuse himself in a February 27 floor statement, and since then has reiterated on March 2, March 23, and April 25 that a truly impartial investigation is only possible with the appointment of a Special Counsel.

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