ARIZONA NEWS

After Comey firing, Arizona lawmakers want independent Trump-Russia investigation

May 9, 2017, 5:11 PM | Updated: May 10, 2017, 7:52 am

President Donald Trump speaks during his meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ab...

President Donald Trump speaks during his meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull aboard the USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier docked in the Hudson River in New York, Thursday, May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

PHOENIX — Several Arizona lawmakers called for an independent investigation into possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia after FBI Director James Comey was fired Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the state’s senior representative in Congress, said in a statement that he respected Trump’s right to fire Comey, but that the decision shows a clear need for an special prosecutor.

“I have long called for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” McCain said in a statement. “The president’s decision to remove the FBI director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee.”

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego led the Arizona Democratic call for an investigation, saying Comey’s firing felt like a cover-up.

“Trump can get away with these troubling maneuvers for only so long as Congressional Republicans allow him to do so,” he said in a statement. “Now that the FBI investigation has been tainted, it’s beyond time to appoint an independent special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this administration’s Russia ties.”

Gallego’s words were echoed by U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who is concerned Comey’s dismissal will hold up the Trump-Russia investigation.

“The timing, to suddenly fire the director prior to the finding of any investigation, now we have to go through the process of trying to get an FBI director approved by the Senate… and what happens to the investigation? It’s now suspended,” he said.

“I think this makes the case for an independent special prosecutor to take over this whole area of the investigation into the Trump administration … and it proceed immediately.”

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) called for an investigation via Twitter.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) also tweeted statements on Comey’s firing, each questioning the timing.

In a March testimony, Comey refused to offer details on the scope, targets or timeline for the FBI investigation, which could shadow the White House for months, if not years.

The director did not say whether the probe has turned up evidence that Trump associates may have schemed with Russians during a campaign marked by email hacking that investigators believe was aimed at helping the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I can promise you,” the FBI director vowed, “we will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

His confirmation of the Russia-links investigation was striking given the FBI’s historic reluctance to discuss its work. But Comey said the intense public interest in the matter — and permission from the Justice Department — made it appropriate to do so.

Comey said the collusion inquiry began last July as part of a broader probe into Russian meddling in American politics, meaning Trump was elected president as associates remained under investigation for possible connections to Russia.

KTAR’s Tom Perumean and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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After Comey firing, Arizona lawmakers want independent Trump-Russia investigation