Senator Dick Durbin (Illinois) released a statement calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to head the investigation into the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The statement began with a critique of the President’s behavior in the days since the firing of FBI Director James Comey was announced.
‘In an interview with NBC News, President Trump admitted to firing FBI Director James Comey because of his investigation of the Trump campaign’s Russian connections—that is dangerously close to obstruction of justice. This morning, the President tweeted a thinly veiled threat to Mr. Comey, which could be construed as threatening a witness in this investigation, which is another violation of federal law.’
Durbin continued, saying that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must either appoint an independent special prosecutor or resign.
‘To preserve his reputation as a credible prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must appoint an independent special prosecutor to pursue possible criminal charges, or he must resign.’
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) joined Durbin and others who have called for an independent special prosecutor later on Friday when she released her own statement.
In her statement, Feinstein said that she supports Durbin’s call for Rosenstein to resign if he will not appoint a special counsel because “these investigations are far too important to risk disruption, delay, or interference.”
She went on to explain why it is so important to her that a special counsel lead the investigation:
‘The bottom line is that the American people need answers. They need to know whether the FBI Director was fired to disrupt an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Judiciary Committee needs to conduct meaningful oversight and ensure the independence and integrity of our system of justice.’
During his confirmation hearing in March, Rosenstein dodged questions from Feinstein about appointing a special prosecutor, saying that he was not in a position to provide an answer. Sources close to Rosenstein told CNN on Friday evening that, even in light of Comey’s abrupt firing, the deputy Attorney General still does not see any need to appoint special counsel.
He might end up resigning anyway, though, and not because of Durbin and Feinstein’s statements. According to The Washington Post, Rosenstein has threatened to resign out of frustration over the fact that Comey’s firing has been pinned on him.