Neal: Trump’s firing of Comey is “deeply troubling”

Says special prosecutor is needed for Russia investigation

Congressman Richard Neal (D-Springfield)

WASHINGTON (WWLP) – Calling it “virtually unprecedented in American history,” Congressman Richard Neal is criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

In a statement sent to 22News, the Springfield Democrat says that a special prosecutor is needed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged ties between members of the Trump Administration and the Russian government. Neal’s call is similar to those made Tuesday night by Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey.

U.S. Sens. Warren, Markey call for independent prosecutor following Comey firing

“This stunning development follows his removal of acting Attorney General Sally Yates and (southern New York) U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, both highly respected and independent law enforcement officials. What we are witnessing from the White House is virtually unprecedented in American history and deeply troubling,” Neal wrote.

“Since January, I have been calling for an independent and bipartisan investigation into the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential investigation. That act was nothing less than a direct assault on our democracy by a hostile foreign government. The abrupt dismissal of Director Comey only reinforces my belief that a special prosecutor is needed immediately. The American people deserve to know the truth.”

Wednesday morning, President Trump responded to the controversy on Twitter, saying “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!” Further, he criticized Democrats who have slammed the decision, saying that many of the same lawmakers wanted Comey fired over his public statements on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.

“The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!” Trump wrote.

The president says that he will replace Comey with someone who “will do a far better job” and will restore prestige to the organization.