Illinois Democrats express concern, dismay after Comey removal


David Fishman/Daily Senior Staffer

Former FBI director James Comey testifies at a 9/11 panel last year. President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to fire Comey received sharp criticism from some Illinois Democrats.

Jake Holland, Copy Chief

Illinois Democrats rebuked President Donald Trump for his decision on Tuesday to fire FBI director James Comey, with several demanding more answers.

The firing came just days after Comey asked the Justice Department for more resources to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to multiple news outlets. The move elicited swift condemnation from leading Illinois Democrats and some national Republicans.

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Trump wrote in a letter to Comey on Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) called on officials to more thoroughly investigate Trump’s ties to Russia in light of the firing.

“The need for an independent investigation into the collusion between the Trump campaign and subsequent administration and the Russian government has never been more clear or more urgent,” Schakowsky said in a news release Wednesday. “For the sake of our democracy and national integrity, we must get to the bottom of this mess.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) echoed those concerns, saying Comey’s removal raises “the critical question” as to whether the FBI investigation will continue. In a Tuesday news release, Durbin said any attempts to overthrow the investigation would “raise grave constitutional issues.”

Though many Republicans remained silent on the decision, Trump took to Twitter to criticize Democratic responses: “The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Some Republicans, however, agreed with concerns voiced by many of their Democratic counterparts. U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he was “disappointed” by the incident and U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called the timing “very troubling.”

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Paul Ryan said the former FBI director brought about his own removal.

“The truth is James Comey, who is a worthwhile and dedicated public servant … had just basically lost the confidence of a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats,” Ryan said during the interview. “Most importantly, he lost the confidence of the president, and it is entirely within the president’s role and authority to relieve him.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jakeholland97