Republican officeholders, this is your chance. Act now and distinguish yourselves as among those rare politicians who do not need polling to tell them what they think.
Yes, on both sides of the aisle we need more patriots and fewer party people. But at this particular moment, it’s you Republicans who control Congress, and you, too, who must take a stand on President Donald Trump’s highly suspicious firing of the FBI director who was heading the agency’s investigation into Team Trump’s possible collusion with the Russians who meddled in our election.
We’re not buying the argument that James Comey was fired for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails all these months later. Why would that be the case, given that Trump repeatedly praised Comey’s guts and integrity in that regard?
Probes into Russian hacking of our democracy are too serious to be compromised by partisanship. But so far, what we’ve heard from our own representatives on the subject isn’t wowing us.
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Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler repeated the president’s iffy reasoning: “Unfortunately, Director Comey had become a lightning rod of controversy,” she said on Facebook, “when his role needs to be one of unquestioned pursuit of the truth. While his sudden dismissal was unexpected, I believe a timely replacement will enable serious, important investigations to proceed so the results are unquestioned in the minds of Americans. I am hopeful a trusted replacement can be made as expeditiously as possible and the Department can move forward with a renewed focus to seek the truth and ensure justice prevails unhindered by controversy.”
On the contrary, the president has guaranteed that this controversy is just getting started.
Missouri Rep. Sam Graves had said nothing official on the subject 24 hours after Comey’s dismissal. Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt put out a statement so anodyne he needn’t have bothered: “Director Comey has served the country well in a number of different roles. Many, including myself, have questioned his actions more than once over the past year. I believe new leadership at the FBI will restore confidence in the organization and among the people who do the hard work to carry out its mission.”
His Kansas colleague, Sen. Pat Roberts, did pick a side, and he, too, defended the president’s decision. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said we need more information about the firing. No question about that.
Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder skirted the issue: “I have absolute faith in career FBI agents and their ability to continue conducting fair and thorough investigations. … I also support continued bipartisan investigations in Congress, and am sure they will go where the facts lead.” We are not sure because that would require the kind of courage we need to see more of, and soon.
One Republican who did step up? Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who by coincidence isn’t running again, was all over it: “(T)he timing of this removal is concerning and raises questions that need to be answered as there are too many conflicting reports within the Administration.” You said it, madam.