LITTLE ROCK — Members of Arkansas' all-Republican congressional delegation are stopping short of criticizing President Donald Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, and none of the state's senators or representatives are so far calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign's possible connections to Russia.
Remarks made Wednesday about Comey's firing:
Sen. John Boozman: "The work undertaken on a daily basis by the men and women of the FBI is vital to the safety and security of our nation. I am grateful for James Comey's integrity and service during his tenure as the bureau's director, despite being placed in some very difficult situations over the past year. The Russian investigations will continue. I have full confidence in my colleagues and the professional staff leading the investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Americans deserve a full explanation as to the circumstances of the decision to immediately remove Mr. Comey from his post. Our country has lost faith in many of our institutions and a better public accounting of this situation, along with a thorough and fair confirmation process for the next FBI Director, can help restore some of that broken trust."
Sen. Tom Cotton: "The FBI director reports directly to the Deputy Attorney General and it's clear from Rod Rosenstein's letter that he had lost confidence in Director Comey. It's hard to stay on the job under those circumstances. I expect the Deputy Attorney General to testify to Congress to explain more of his reasoning and the timing, but the most important thing now is that the President nominate a new director of unimpeachable integrity and unquestioned independence to lead the FBI."
Rep. French Hill: "I am carefully reviewing the background and rationale for the Director's dismissal last night by President Trump. The firing of an FBI Director is a reasonable cause for concern for the American people who deserve an FBI that is immune to any political influence. Due to the delicate nature of this important situation, I do not feel it is appropriate for me to deliver an opinion on the matter without having received all of the facts. Having said that, the president needs to quickly appoint someone to the job who not only he feels confident can fairly uphold the law, but the American people can feel confident in as well. I also support the continued FBI investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the House and Senate Intelligence Committee's investigations must continue unimpeded by this decision."
Beau Walker, chief of staff for Rep. Steve Womack: "Congressman Womack understands the timing of Director Comey's dismissal is concerning to some. Ultimately, executive branch officials serve at the will of the president."
Rep. Bruce Westerman declined to comment.
The staff of Rep. Rick Crawford said Crawford was out of the country and not available to comment.
Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray: "I am calling on our congressional delegation to demand that an independent counsel be appointed to oversee the [election] investigation. This is about protecting the integrity of the United States Constitution. This is not partisan and it is not complicated. Our President has created a constitutional crisis and the clearest path toward unwinding this crisis is to appoint an independent investigator."
Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.