Washington, D.C. — Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement today after former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
James Comey’s testimony confirms a pattern of obstruction by President Trump, who has repeatedly tried to undermine the FBI’s investigation. Trump’s firing of Comey and requests to the heads of intelligence agencies to help quash the FBI’s investigation demonstrate his own culpability and represent a serious abuse of power.
The president should have been doing all he could to root out Russian influence in his administration, not trying to protect foreign agents like Michael Flynn. Comey’s testimony today reaffirmed Trump’s stunning lack of concern about Russia’s attack on our democracy. Instead, at every turn Trump has taken unprecedented measures to not only impede the FBI investigation but also back pro-Putin views at odds with long-standing American policies and values. The extraordinary steps Trump has taken to defend and shield Flynn from investigation and back President Putin strongly point to Trump’s own culpability and raise critical questions about his motives. What is Trump trying to hide?
Comey’s testimony emphasizes the importance of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation, including into Trump’s firing of Comey.
This testimony comes after numerous reports of Trump doing the bidding of the Russian government in word and policy. Just in the last month he provided top secret intelligence to the Russian foreign minister and proposed to give Russia back facilities that they use to spy on America. He is also fulfilling Putin’s wish list by kneecapping longstanding American allies. Trump became the first American president to fail to affirm our commitment to NATO and has caused the worst crisis in U.S.-German relations in the past 70 years. Trump is putting the Kremlin first, not America first. Why is Trump so intent on putting the interests of Russia before those of the American people?
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