Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer has called for a special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties between Donald Trump's team and Russia in response to the President firing FBI Director James Comey.
Responding to the firing at a press conference, Mr Schumer questioned the timing of the announcement, and called for a "fearless" independent special prosecutor to continue the investigation into any alleged links between Trump campaign members and Russia.
"Mr President, with all due respect, you're making a big mistake," Mr Schumer said he told the president of his decision to fire Mr Comey. "Why now? Why did it happen today?"
Mr Schumer further said that the sudden termination may have been part of a "cover up."
"Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?" Mr Schumer asked, saying that an independent investigation to answer that question was necessary.
Democrats lined up behind Mr Schumer in insisting on an independent prosecutor. Senator Kamala Harris of California tweeted: “I've said it before and will again — we must have a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI's Russia investigation. This cannot wait.”
Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee said “our democracy is in danger,” and he pressed Speaker Paul Ryan to appoint a bipartisan commission to investigate the Trump-Russia relationship.
Senator Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, stood on the Senate floor and said he would await word from the White House on whether the investigation will continue.
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania called on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel. Mr Casey called the dismissal reminiscent of the Watergate scandal surrounding the presidency of Richard Nixon and the national turmoil during that time.
Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings said Congress needs to have immediate emergency hearings. Mr Cummings said Mr Comey was the one independent person to investigate Trump and his campaign's possible coordination with Russia.
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