Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King wants to know if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions played any role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
Sessions is expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. King, a member of the committee, told CBS This Morning that he wants to know if Sessions advised President Donald Trump to fire Comey, and if so, if such a recommendation was related to the former FBI director’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with Trump associates.
King noted that Sessions had recused himself from the Russia probe well before the president fired Comey last month.
“Because at that point [the firing], he [Sessions] was supposed to be recused from this investigation, have nothing to do with it,” King said. “To the extent that the Comey firing had something to do with the investigation, I think that’s an area we need to explore.”
King also said that the focus on the president’s motivation for firing Comey has also overshadowed Russia’s interference in the election, which intelligence officials say well exceeded obtaining emails from the Democratic National Committee and officials associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“The real issue here is what the Russians did. They attacked us,” King said. “This was really serious, sophisticated, long term … they knew what they were doing. Not only did they get into emails and release emails and try to influence the election, they were also poking and prodding in state election systems. And they’re going to be back.”
King said he was concerned that Trump has not expressed any concern with the Russian meddling. He cited testimony from Comey last week in which the former FBI director said the president didn’t appear worried about Russia’s activities.
“In those nine interactions with the president did he ever express any interest in what the Russians did, how they did it, how we know they did, what they’re plans are … and the answer was ‘no,’ zero,” King said. “And that’s very disturbing and, as you know, the president has sort of denigrated this whole idea from the very beginning,” he said.
Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins also sits on the Intelligence Committee. Collins testified on behalf of Sessions during his confirmation hearing earlier this year.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.