WASHINGTON—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuffed calls from Democrats who want the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s influence in the 2016 presidential election.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump associates before and after the election. Schumer said if Rosenstein did not appoint one, a cover up would be obvious to the American people.
“Whatever one thinks of the manner in which Director James Comey handled the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private server and her mishandling of classified information, it is clear what our Democratic colleagues thought of it — both at the time and consistently thereafter,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
McConnell went on to say, “Last year, the current Democratic Leader said it appeared to be an ‘appalling act,’ one that he said ‘goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every level of government.’ And the prior Democratic Leader, when asked if James Comey should resign given his conduct of the investigation, replied ‘[o]f course, yes.'”
He added, “It is also clear what our Democratic colleagues think of the man who evaluated Mr. Comey’s professional conduct and concluded that the Bureau needed a change in leadership. The Democratic Leader just a few weeks ago praised Mr. Rosenstein for his independence and said he had developed a reputation for integrity.”
“So what we have now, Mr. President, is our Democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an FBI Director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized, by a man, Rod Rosenstein, whom they repeatedly and effusively praised — when Mr. Rosenstein recommended Mr. Comey’s removal for many of the very reasons they have complained about.”
Schumer responded to reporters Tuesday night about previous critical statements he and other Democrats made about Comey regarding the former FBI Director’s handing of the Clinton e-mail investigation.
“I never called on the president to fire Comey. I had a lot of questions about how he handled himself. But the overwhelming question is this. If the administration had those same questions the events that occurred months ago, they should have fired Comey on the day they came into office,” Schumer said. “All of them occurred before he came into office, so that does not seem to me to be a very logical or persuasive explanation.”