The president’s decision to fire James Comey as FBI director sparked a new round of accusations that his administration colluded with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Now, as Congress debates impeachment, President Donald Trump is making another move to end the controversy that has overshadowed his first year in office.
The president has fired FBI Director James Comey, in what is being seen as a major shift for the bureau amid mounting investigations into Russia’s meddling in the election.
The move comes as Senate Democrats continue to push for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s election meddling and potential collusion.
But Trump and other Republicans have called for a special prosecutor to investigate the matter, saying there is insufficient evidence to proceed.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement that Trump “has the constitutional authority to appoint a special grand jury to conduct an independent investigation.”
He also said the special counsel should be independent of the attorney general, which the president has done with Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation.
In his statement, McConnell also criticized Comey for what he called the “unprecedented and politically motivated” decision to publicly announce his intention to step down in light of the probe into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Comey announced that he was leaving office after more than six years in the job, citing the bureau’s Russia investigation.
The FBI has been investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election since early last year, as well as possible ties to Trump associates.
The probe is now being led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller and former FBI Chief James Comey.
The Justice Department has also launched an independent counsel investigation, which is looking into whether Trump obstructed justice.
The White House and other Trump supporters say the investigations are politically motivated.
Democrats, however, have charged that the investigations were politicized and that the president obstructed an independent prosecutor’s probe.
In the meantime, the president is using his Twitter account to defend Comey.
“James Comey is a great man.
He is a very smart man,” Trump said.
“I don’t think he’s guilty of a crime.”