India-born former top federal prosecutor Preet Bharara today raised concerns about US President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, saying “everyone who cares about independence and rule of law” should be troubled by the move. Trump fired Comey, saying he was no longer effectively able to lead the bureau and it was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in it. Bharara, 48, who himself was fired by the Trump administration, tweeted, “EVERYONE who cares about independence & rule of law in America should be ‘troubled by the timing and reasoning’ of Comey firing.” Bharara was one of 46 attorneys Trump asked to resign after taking office. His dismissal had also came as a surprise after the attorney said Trump asked him to remain in his post shortly after the election.
Several lawmakers also questioned the timing of Comey’s removal as the FBI is investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, including any possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. “I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination,” said Republican Senator Richard Burr. “This is Nixonian. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation,” tweeted Senator Bob Casey. California Senator Kamala Harris, “His (Comey’s) firing puts that investigation into further question,” she said.
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American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony D Romero said the independence of the FBI director is meant to ensure that the president does not operate above the law. “For President Trump to fire the man responsible for investigating his own campaign’s ties to the Russians imperils that fundamental principle,” he said. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who is currently in India as part of a Congressional delegation, said, “The manner and suddenness of FBI Director Comey’s firing is deeply disturbing.”
“As I have said before, we urgently need a fully bipartisan and independent investigation into Russia’s influence on the White House and the 2016 election,” Jayapal said.