Donald Trump tried Wednesday to contain the storm caused by the dismissal of FBI boss James Comey, the Democratic opposition calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the role of Russia in the 2016 campaign.
“He did not do a good job, it was very simple, he did not do a good job,” explained Donald Trump briefly questioned in the Oval Office by the press.
The president of the United States received Wednesday the head of the Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov, a first meeting qualified by him as “very good” with a senior Russian official, and prefigures that with Vladimir Putin scheduled in July in Germany.
If the interview was closed to the press, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hastened to spread on Twitter photos of the two men shaking hands.
“President Trump has clearly expressed his interest in establishing pragmatic and mutually beneficial working relations with Russia,” said Mr. Lavrov.
The White House’s argument to justify the departure of the boss of the federal police is simple but surprising.
He is blamed for his management of the affair of the emails of Hillary Clinton, which he commented publicly during the electoral campaign, contrary to the use to the FBI but to the great satisfaction at the time of the republican candidate. Why, in essence, asks the White House, do the Democrats scandalize themselves when they themselves denounced for months the behavior of Mr. Comey?
Except that an out-of-the-ordinary public hearing was held in Congress in March, during which the first US cop confirmed the existence of an investigation into a possible “coordination” between members of the team Campaign of Donald Trump and Moscow.
According to the New York Times, in addition, Mr. Comey had asked the Ministry of Justice last week for additional means to strengthen the investigation of its agents.
“If the administration had any real objections to the way in which Director Comey handled the Clinton investigation, they would have existed as soon as the president took office,” Chuck Schumer, the Democratic opposition leader in the Senate, said. Suspects the power of wanting to hinder investigations.
The opposition is now demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor, more independent of power than the existing prosecutors, to oversee the investigation into Russian interference. This decision depends on a priori on the number two of the Justice, Rod Rosenstein, the minister Jeff Sessions having rejected in this case.
The questions are not just from the Democrats. Several Republican tenors expressed their embarrassment, even their incredulity.
“When you shoot one of America’s most respected characters, it’s in your interest to have a very good explanation, and so far I have not heard it,” Senator John McCain told CNN on Wednesday.
The head of the Senate’s powerful intelligence committee, Richard Burr, who is conducting his own parliamentary inquiry, said he was “troubled” by the timetable and reasons for his dismissal.
Many members of the majority, including the head of the Senate, support the presidential decision.
But an increasing number are concerned that these events are eroding Americans’ confidence in the integrity of the justice system.
“Our country is evidently in a very volatile, sensitive and fragile period,” said Republican Senator Tim Scott. “We’ll have to get to the bottom of things, quickly.”
In a series of morning tweets, Donald Trump had justified his decision: “Comey has lost the confidence of practically everyone in Washington, Republicans as Democrats. When things are calmed, they will thank me.”
“James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do much better and bring back the spirit and prestige of the FBI,” he added, referring via his Twitter account to an article listing “the 10 biggest FBI scandals under The management of Comey “.
Among those named in the US press to succeed Mr. Comey are New Jersey governor Chris Christie or Mike Rogers, former FBI and former chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose name was mentioned, said he was not a candidate for the post.