Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had some concise, pointed advice today for outraged Democrats fulminating over President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey: “Suck it up and move on.”
Trump fired Comey late Tuesday, telling him in a brief letter that he had made the decision “on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.” Trump wrote that Comey could no longer “effectively lead” the bureau. The administration’s rationale for dumping Comey was that he had mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton last summer.
Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been very critical of Comey in recent days due to the bureau’s failure to meet deadlines responding to his questions regarding its investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Grassley had requested information pertaining to the anti-Trump Dossier, British spy Christopher Steele and his British company Orbis, and the Washington, D.C.-based opposition research firm Fusion GPS. In a recent letter, Grassley characterized the bureau’s lack of response on matters related to Steele as a “pattern of obstruction.”
During an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning, Grassley said that he supports Trump’s decision to fire the former FBI chief.
He pointed out that the FBI director reports to and is under the direction of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a highly respected career official who was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 94 to 6.
“He said that Comey being head hurts the confidence of the public and the FBI and he should be replaced,” Grassley explained. “Now the president wouldn’t have to take the advice of Rosenstein, but obviously a president ought to have a good reason for not taking it when the guy that supervises the FBI felt that Mr. Comey was bad for the morale and the confidence that the public ought to have in the FBI.” He added that the FBI needs “to rebuild that confidence.”
Grassley said that Democrats are using the firing to renew their calls for a special prosecutor, an idea that he said has been “losing steam.”
“I think it gave them a chance to get back to something that they argued about a month ago and it was losing steam – to have a special prosecutor or have a commission to look into it,” Grassley said. “But there’s committees of Congress, including my own committee, investigating this and it gives them an opportunity to bring those issues up again.”
He added that Democrats “don’t have a lot of credibility” after criticizing Comey so vociferously over his decision in October to temporarily re-open the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
Fox News’ Steve Doocy asked Grassley about the phone call he received from Trump at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Well, it’s pretty darn simple. Maybe I shouldn’t report about private telephone conversations, but I don’t think the president would care. He just wanted to inform me, as chairman of the committee and call me as the first senator to tell me that he’s going to make this firing so that I wasn’t caught off guard.
Asked if he supports the decision, Grassley said, “Of course I support it!”
He dismissed overwrought Democrat/media descriptions of the firing as “Nixonian” and reminiscent of President Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre.”
“My message is – suck it up and move on,” he said.