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McCain says he has not seen a good explanation for firing of FBI Director Comey

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain of Ariz., left, and the committee's ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., listen to U.S. Pacific Command Commander Adm. Harry Harris Jr. as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2017, during the committee's hearing on North Korea. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that he has yet to be given a good reason why President Donald Trump chose to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

“When you fire probably, arguably the most respected person in America, you better have a very good explanation and, so far, I haven’t seen that,” McCain told media in Washington, D.C.

In his brief letter Tuesday to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in the FBI.

“He wasn’t doing a good job. Very simply. He was not doing a good job,” Trump said in brief remarks to reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday. The president also tweeted that “When things calm down, they will be thanking me.”

The administration paired the Comey letter with a scathing review by Rod Rosenstein, the recently confirmed deputy attorney general. It attacked the way Comey handled the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email practices, including his decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing “derogatory information” about Clinton.

McCain said he doesn’t buy that reasoning.

“I don’t believe that is sufficient rationale for removing the director of the FBI and I regret that it’s happened,” he said.

Comey’s firing also brought into question the agency’s ongoing investigation into potential ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

“I think they’ve been investigating the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia for a long time,” McCain said. “I just think that obviously it was not done in an efficient fashion.”

Immediately after Comey’s firing, several Arizona lawmakers — including McCain — asked for an independent investigation into the Trump campaign.

“We have a lot of issues and challenges and this (Comey’s firing) just diverts a lot of that attention,” McCain said.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brushed aside calls for a special prosecutor, saying a new investigation into Russia possibly meddling in the recent election would only “impede the current work being done.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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