20 attorneys general, including Hawaii’s Chin, call for independent probe into Russia

BOSTON (AP/CNN/KHON2) — A group of 20 attorneys general, all Democrats, is calling for the appointment of an independent special counsel to continue the investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

The group led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called Republican President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey during the ongoing investigation a “violation of public trust.”

The group said in a Thursday letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that only the appointment of an independent special counsel “with full powers and resources” can begin to restore public confidence.

Those signing the letter include the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

“Today I joined 19 other attorneys general in calling for the appointment of an independent special counsel in the wake of FBI Director Comey’s firing by the President. I have spent most of my career as a prosecutor. The only way to stabilize this situation now is the appointment of a special counsel,” said Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin.

It’s an idea that U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard agrees with. She posted the following statement on social media:

“Although Director Comey lost credibility with the American people long ago, his abrupt firing further undermines the American people’s trust in the FBI and its investigation. Two things need to happen now. (1) We need a non-partisan FBI Director who can be trusted by all the American people. (2) The investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia must be carried forward in a fair, non-partisan, thorough way. This is why I’ve long called for an independent commission or special prosecutor to conduct this investigation in a way that is transparent.”

On Thursday, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe insisted the investigation was on track, and assured the Senate intelligence committee that it has not and will not be hindered by Comey’s firing.

“There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date. Simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the constitution,” McCabe said.

McCabe said reports of Comey asking Rosenstein for more resources to conduct the probe are contrary to the normal procedure.

“I’m not aware of that request, and it’s not consistent with my understanding of how we request additional resources,” McCabe said. “I strongly believe that the Russian investigation is adequately resourced.”

The ranking members of the committee also met with Rosenstein on Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss the Russia investigation’s path forward.

Sen. Richard Burr, R, N.C., intelligence committee chairman, pledged: “Regardless of what happens by the Justice Department or by the FBI, that the investigation that’s done by the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue on its current course, as aggressively as we’re able to.”

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