- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rep. David N. Cicilline, a Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, on Thursday requested that the watchdog at the Department of Justice investigate whether President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey is the latest in a series of politically motivated actions, saying it is imperative that the agency operates free of interference from elected officials.

Mr. Cicilline, the ranking member on the House Judiciary subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust Law, said in a letter to Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz that “the timing of the firing of Director Comey, just as the investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign progresses is extremely suspect, and cause for great concern, as the FBI and Department of Justice should never be subject to political influence or retaliatory measures.”

The Rhode Island Democrat noted that the firing followed the dismissals of Obama administration appointees Sally Q. Yates as acting attorney general, who refused to go along with the first iteration of Mr. Trump’s travel ban, and Preet Bharara as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“I respectfully ask you to begin investigations into whether U.S. Attorney Bharara, acting Attorney General Yates or Director Comey were fired due to political considerations or attempts to interfere in an ongoing investigation,” Mr. Cicilline said.

“Additionally, I ask that you look closely at the timeline of events preceding Director Comey’s dismissal to determine whether Attorney General Sessions or Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein were pressured by President Trump or anyone else within the White House into recommending that Director Comey be fired, and if so, whether they violated Department of Justice policy or federal law, and whether you find that they or anyone else within the Department of Justice should be charged, reprimanded, or recuse themselves from any ongoing investigations,” he said.

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