The surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey Tuesday caused Maine lawmakers to split along partisan lines in statement each released in response.
 
In the biggest development, U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, said President Donald Trump’s decision called for “a special counsel to carry forward the investigation” into possible ties between Russia and the president’s campaign last year.
 
King said that dismissing James Comey “was a solution in search of a rationale” that “just doesn’t add up and raises more questions than it answers.”
 
He called it “especially troubling” given the ongoing FBI investigation. The firing “undermines confidence in the credibility” of the probe, said King, who serves with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on the Senate Intelligence Committee looking into possible collusion between Trump and Russia.
 
Collins, though, offered a different take on the move, one of the most supportive statements released by any prominent Republican.
 
“Any suggestion that today’s announcement is somehow an effort to stop the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s attempt to influence the election last fall is misplaced,” the Republican lawmakere said.
 
Trump “did not fire the entire FBI; he fired the director,” she said, adding that she has “every confidence that the FBI will continue to pursue its investigation.”
 
She said she is certain the intelligence panel “will continue its own bipartisan investigation and will follow the evidence wherever it leads,” Collins said.
 
The chairman of the committee, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said on Twitter he is “troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination.”
 
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, the Democrat from Maine’s 1st District, said she’s called for a special prosecutor for months “who will give the American people the answers they deserve.”
 
“‘You’re fired’ is not something you should be able to tell the person investigating you. This isn’t a game show,” Pingree said.
 
Maine’s other congressman, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a 2nd District Republican, said he’s confident the FBI will continue to carry out its duties professionally.
 
“As it relates to any foreign involvement in our elections,” Poliquin said, “I will continue to closely monitor this issue, along with my Maine colleagues in the Senate who are conducting a thorough and bipartisan investigation.”
 
Collins also said the firing “is likely the inevitable conclusion of Director Comey’s decision last July to bypass the longstanding protocols of the Justice Department and publicly announce the reasons he had decided not to recommend an indictment of Hillary Clinton and to offer his personal views of Mrs. Clinton’s actions.”
 
“That decision, while well-intentioned, embroiled Director Comey into political controversies that unfortunately continued to this day,” she said.
 
Collins said, too, that she hopes the next FBI director “will have the same kind of integrity, intelligence, and determination that Mr. Comey exhibited, but perhaps better judgment on when it is appropriate to comment publicly on the results of an investigation.”

Maine Sen. Angus King.


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