U.S. Rep. John Faso responded on Wednesday, May 10 to the abrupt termination of FBI Director James Comey the previous day, calling Comey’s firing in the midst of an agency investigation into ties between top Trump campaign aides and Russia “at the same time unsurprising and shocking.”
Faso, a Kinderhook Republican who represents New York’s 19th Congressional District, added that he would support the appointment of an independent investigator to the case — if the administration did not quickly appoint an FBI director with credibility on both sides of the aisle.
Faso’s statement came a day after Trump announced that he had fired Comey based on a recommendation by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod J. Rosenstein. Trump linked the abrupt firing to Comey’s actions regarding the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information while serving as secretary of state. But Democrats and a few Republicans have expressed outrage at the sudden dismissal of the man leading an ongoing FBI investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and alleged contacts between Russian agents and top Trump advisors, including former national security advisor Michael Flynn and onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Faso’s statement criticized Comey for “his actions relating to the Clinton email matter” and suggested that the former FBI director’s statements to a Congressional committee earlier this week that he had mischaracterized the actions of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin regarding classified data “were perhaps the final misstep.” But Faso also questioned the timing of Comey’s dismissal.
“The public must have absolute confidence that the FBI investigation [into Russian influence in the 2016 election] will be thorough, and result in complete resolution of that question regardless of the outcome,” Faso wrote. “The facts must be known.”
Faso called for the swift appointment of a new FBI director “of unquestioned integrity and experience acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.”
“If the nominee does not pass that test,” Faso wrote, “then the only alternative in my view would be the selection of an independent investigator to get to the bottom of this matter once and for all.”