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Colorado's Republican members of Congress silent after Comey fired
Colorado’s Republican members of Congress sat silent Tuesday after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been in charge of the investigation into whether Russia colluded with administration and campaign members to influence the U.S. election.
The state’s Democrats all called for an independent investigator or commission to be appointed to continue the investigation, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from, then was part of the decision-making team that worked to fire Comey.
Attorney General's Office writes recommendation to Trump
Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sent letters to the president dated Tuesday recommending that Comey be fired, though there are conflicting reports as to whether they were compelled to or did so on their own accord. Sessions' letter was brief, but Rosenstein's cited Comey's public testimony regarding Hillary Clinton's email servers and continuing public discussion of the matter as reasons why he was unfit for the job.
Comey's firing also came less than 24 hours after a ProPublica report showed that he had been inaccurate when testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Clinton emails.
“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’s firing letter to Comey read — though Comey confirmed at a hearing in late March that his campaign was under investigation.
“It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors,” the letter concluded.
It stood in stark contrast to Trump's statements last fall during the election, in which he praised Comey for making public the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email servers.
Colorado Democrats call for independent investigation
Sen. Michael Bennet (D) said that the timing of Comey’s firing “raises many questions.”
“The next FBI director must be independent and relentless in seeking the truth,” Bennet added. “This underscores the need for an independent special prosecutor to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election and connections to the Trump campaign and Administration.”
“The need for an independent commission to investigate the Russian connection is now absolutely vital,” Rep. Jared Polis (D) said.
“Clearly [President Trump] is hiding something,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D). “Now more than ever we need an independent special prosecutor to lead this investigation.”
“#ComeyFiring provides yet more reason for independent inquiry into Trump-Russia-election ties,” tweeted Rep. Diana DeGette (D). “Too many unsolved questions, much mistrust.”
Prominent national Republicans question timing of firing, call for independent investigation too
Several prominent Republicans in the Senate and House similarly questioned the timing of Comey’s firing amid the ongoing investigation.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, tweeted, “I’ve spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey’s firing. I just can’t do it.”
Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said he was “troubled” by the timing of Comey’s firing.
“His dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the committee…Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees,” he continued. “His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.”
Sen. John McCain, another Arizona Republican, said he was “disappointed” in Comey’s firing and likewise called for a special committee to head up the Russia investigation.
Republican Michigan Rep. Justin Amash said he and his staff were looking at legislation to establish an independent investigatory committee, and said the second paragraph in Trump's pink slip letter to Comey was "bizarre."
Colorado Republicans mum so far
But missing from all the statements from Republicans were any from Colorado’s GOP congressmen.
Multiple requests for comment made to Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Scott Tipton, Rep. Ken Buck and Rep. Doug Lamborn all went unreturned Tuesday evening. No statements from any of the congressmen were posted on their websites or to Twitter.
When asked about a possible independent investigation team in regards to Russia during a March 1 town hall, Gardner said he supported the House Intelligence Committee investigation and ongoing FBI investigation, adding that “we know for sure” that Russia interfered with the election.
Gardner, Coffman and Buck all have in the past expressed the need to “get to the bottom,” as Buck put it, of what sort of influence Russia had on the elections.
Federal prosecutors also said Tuesday they had subpoenaed members of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's team in regards to the Russia ties.
Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning with Russia's foreign minister. Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have already called for the preservation of all existing documents related to the Trump-Russia investigation.
Should any of Colorado’s Republicans comment on Comey’s firing, we’ll be sure to update this story.Content originally published by ABC Denver 7 on May 10, 2017.