FBI Director James Comey was abruptly fired Tuesday, in the midst of an ongoing investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. This opens up the spot for someone to take over the bureau and (presumably) resume the probe into Russian meddling in the Trump administration — though many Democrats are suspicious of the timing.
According to Rep. Michael Capuano, the timing changes everything. “Had [President Trump] done this on the day he took office, or soon thereafter, I think there would have been silence,” he said during an interview with Boston Public Radio Thursday. “But now that we’re into the Russian investigation that wasn’t in existence last year ... I kind of think this smells, and everybody I know thinks it smells. I’m trying not to jump to conclusions, but it is awfully difficult.”
According to the White House, President Trump was influenced by a letter he received from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among others, who had urged the president to consider “a fresh start” in the leadership of the FBI.
Sessions, who will be tasked with finding a replacement for Comey, had previously recused himself from the Russia inquiry over contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
“Does anyone really believe that in the back of his mind — if not on the tip of his tongue — there won’t be some concern about whether the new person will be as independent?” Capuano said. “It’s nice to think that everyone is well-intentioned and not malevolent, but that’s a little naive.”
Several Democrats, including Rep. Seth Moulton, have called for a special prosecutor to assess the situation. Capuano says we’re not there yet. “Prosecution, in my mind, implies the precondition that somebody has probably done something wrong,” Capuano said. “I’m not looking for a prosecutor yet — I’m looking for an investigator to determine whether we need a prosecutor.”
Congressman Capuano also discussed the latest additions toA Look Behind the Curtain. It's a running list of government actions that may not get a lot of play but could have big consequences.
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano is a Democrat who represents Massachusetts's 7th District. To hear his full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.