Rep. Yarmuth: We're pretty close to considering impeachment

Yarmuth comments on firing of James Comey

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Congressman John Yarmuth has questioned the timing of President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. Tuesday he called for a special prosecutor to take over the Russian investigation. But Thursday, in an interview with WHAS11 Political Editor Chris Williams, Kentucky’s 3rd District Democrat commented further about the situation, whether the US is facing a constitutional crisis and the role his once close friend and now political foe, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will take as the situation plays out.

Representative Yarmuth said that he is “not unhappy” that Director Comey is gone but he questions the reasoning behind the firing accusing President Trump of dumping the FBI chief “because the president didn’t get his way.”

The Democrat feels that the US is undergoing a Constitutional crisis accusing the President, Vice President and Attorney General of lying to the American people which Congressman Yarmuth suggests brings the situation “close to impeachable offenses.”

He worked as a staffer in Washington, DC during the Watergate scandal and compared the current situation with James Comey to the “Saturday Night Massacre”.

“…the same forces same forces were at play,” said Rep. Yarmuth. “Yes, the circumstances and the facts are a little bit different but the same forces were at play where you have a president using his power to try and block an investigation into him. And so I think we're actually pretty close to considering impeachment.”

When asked for his reaction to the statement made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a one-time close friend and current political foe, Yarmuth responded, “I thought it was curiously calm. I think it was probably marking time. Mitch McConnell is going to experience his ‘profile in courage` moment. If it's not now, it's coming very soon and I think it was kind of watching which way his members are going before he decides to act. But I think, ultimately, it's going to be on his shoulders to save democracy, I think.”

Here’s the full statement made by Senator McConnell on Wednesday:

“Whatever one thinks of the manner in which Director James Comey handled the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private server and her mishandling of classified information, it is clear what our Democratic colleagues thought of it — both at the time and consistently thereafter. 

“Last year, the current Democratic Leader said it appeared to be an ‘appalling act,’ one that he said ‘goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every level of government.’ And the prior Democratic Leader, when asked if James Comey should resign given his conduct of the investigation, replied ‘[o]f course, yes.’

“It is also clear what our Democratic colleagues think of the man who evaluated Mr. Comey’s professional conduct and concluded that the Bureau needed a change in leadership. The Democratic Leader just a few weeks ago praised Mr. Rosenstein for his independence and said he had developed a reputation for integrity. 

“So what we have now, Mr. President, is our Democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an FBI Director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized, by a man, Rod Rosenstein, whom they repeatedly and effusively praised — when Mr. Rosenstein recommended Mr. Comey’s removal for many of the very reasons they have complained about.

“Two investigations are currently ongoing: the Senate Intelligence Committee's review of Russian active measures and intelligence activities, and the FBI investigation disclosed by Director Comey.  Today we will no doubt hear calls for a new investigation which could only serve to impede the current work being done to not only discover what the Russians may have done, but also to let this body and the national security community to develop the countermeasures and warfighting doctrine to see that it doesn't occur again. Partisan calls should not delay the considerable work of Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Warner — too much is at stake.

“Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was just confirmed on a bipartisan basis — 94 to 6 — and that sort of fair consideration should continue when the Senate receives an FBI Director nominee. As I said yesterday, once the Senate receives a nomination to fill this position, we will all look forward to a full, fair, and timely confirmation process. This is a critical role that is particularly important as our country continues to face serious threats at home and abroad.”

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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