Liberal Florida lawmaker rips Schumer-backed plan to block Comey replacement
By Kathryn Blackhurst; LifeZette:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for an escalation of the already unprecedented obstructionist activity of his caucus until unless a special prosecutor is appointed to handle an investigation into Russian collusion, during an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Host Jake Tapper asked Schumer about a suggestion from Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman on the Senate Intelligence Committee, that Democrats should “refuse to vote on the nomination of a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is appointed.”
Schumer said that he supports that move.
“Yeah, I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way. We’ll have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move because who the FBI director is related to who the special prosecutor is,” Schumer responded. “So I think the two are related. I think Mark Warner’s idea is a good idea. And I think it will get some broad support in our caucus.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the top DOJ official handling the investigation, said Friday there was no need for a special prosecutor, according to a report from CNN.
Schumer and the members of his caucus have seized on the idea of a special prosecutor to continue insisting DOJ cannot fairly investigate the White House — even when Rosenstein is widely regarded as impartial and dedicated to the law.
Insisting that “what happened this week makes it all the more important that we get a special prosecutor,” Schumer claimed “the silence of my Republican colleagues is choosing party over country at a time when we can ill-afford it.”
“I think patriotism and the needs of this country demand it,” Schumer said of the supposed need for a special prosecutor.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained there is no need for a special prosecutor unless the Justice Department and Congress discover concrete evidence tying Trump or his associates to definite Russian collusion efforts.
“Right now it is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. So you don’t need a special prosecutor,” Graham said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “I trust [Deputy] Attorney General Rothenstein to do this. If he gets to the point that he can’t do it and it becomes a criminal investigation, we’ll have a special prosecutor.”
“But right now I see no need for a special prosecutor. It’s not a criminal investigation. I see no need for an independent commission yet,” Graham said. “This is a counterintelligence investigation. We’re not investigating a crime yet. If it becomes a criminal investigation of the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians during the election and Mr. Rothenstein doesn’t believe he can do the job, then we’ll have a special counsel. There’s a process in place.”
Noting that the president is “not a target of the investigation yet,” Graham told Democrats to “leave this investigation alone.”
In a separate interview Sunday on “State of the Union,” Tapper asked Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) if she agreed with the Senate Democrats’ desire to obstruct the FBI director confirmation process if their demands for a special prosecutor are not met.
“I think the idea of holding up the Senate, holding the Congress hostage in order to get this done, isn’t exactly what our constituents sent us to Washington to do,” Murphy said. “They didn’t send us here for more gridlock. My hope is that we do pass legislation that sets up an independent investigation commission, and it really does depend on members of Congress to put their politics aside and recognize that this is a real threat to this country. It’s a national security threat.”
Murphy suggested members of her own party should focus on issues rather than trumped-up political controversies.
“The other thing is that in the House, we’re up for reelection in about 18 months. And I don’t know about them, but I want to run against a fellow American on the issues that matter to my constituents,” Murphy said. “I don’t want to be running against the Russians and their misinformation campaign.”
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