Top Senate Republican Chuck Grassley backed President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday and had a strong message for outraged media outlets: “suck it up and move on.”
Grassley, R-Iowa, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on "Fox & Friends" that he supports Trump’s decision to fire the controversial FBI chief.
“Of course I support it,” he said.
Trump fired Comey late Tuesday, telling him in a brief letter that Comey could not “effectively lead” the bureau and calling for “new leadership that restores public trust and confidence” in law enforcement. Comey had come under fire for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe in 2016.
But some Democrats expressed outrage at the decision, noting that the FBI is investigating whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to take over the Russia probe.
“This is part of a deeply troubling pattern from the Trump administration,” Schumer told reporters.
Earlier Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., called the move “Nixonian,” while a coalition of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee called it a “shocking decision” and called on the Department of Justice and FBI to preserve all documents relating to the Russia probe.
But Grassley said that Democrats are jumping on the issue as it gives them a chance to renew their calls for a special prosecutor.
“I think it gave them a chance to get back to something 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.”
Grassley added that Democrats’ arguments are damaged based on their criticisms of Comey’s decision in October to temporarily re-open the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
“I don’t think they have much credibility,” he said.
Asked for what he thought of media outlets calling the firing "Nixonian" and reminiscent of President Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” Grassley dismissed the claims.
“My message is this – suck it up and move on,” he said.