WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Thursday after former FBI director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding his communications with and firing by President Trump related to the Russia investigation:
“Today, James Comey shared with the American people disturbing details of his interactions with Donald Trump before and after he was sworn in as president. There is no reason to doubt the integrity of Mr. Comey’s recollection of how Mr. Trump repeatedly used the weight of the presidency to ask a law enforcement official to drop an investigation. Such inappropriate actions cannot be simply written off to a learning curve. I trust Special Counsel Mueller is looking more deeply into these interactions and their intent to derail a legitimate investigation into criminal activity.
“Former Director Comey’s testimony today regarding Russia’s actions during the 2016 presidential campaign was as damning as his testimony about President Trump. I hope that my colleagues who have yet to cosponsor my legislation to create an independent, 9/11-style commission were paying attention when Mr. Comey said of Russia: ‘We’re talking about a foreign government trying to shape the way we think, we vote, we act. This is a big deal. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats, they’re coming after America. They think this great experiment of ours is a threat to them and they want to tear it down. They will be back to meddle again.’
“We urgently need tough new sanctions against Russia like my bill with Senator McCain that has 20 bipartisan cosponsors.
“The American people also are entitled to answers that cannot be fully found by a congressional committee distracted by other affairs of state. It is time for Republican leadership in Congress to acknowledge publicly how dangerous the president’s actions and rhetoric have been to American rule of law – the very foundation of our nation. We need an independent commission to get to the heart of Russia’s interference in our country and to make public its findings and recommendations for how we can avoid this kind of nightmare in the future.”