Reaction to Mr. Comey’s surprising firing was swift. President Trump’s critics said it showed the need for an independent investigation. His supporters were more mixed.
Here’s a sampling.
• Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois condemned the firing. “Any attempt to stop or undermine this F.B.I. investigation would raise grave constitutional issues,” he said. “We await clarification by the White House as soon as possible as to whether this investigation will continue and whether it will have a credible lead so that we know that it’ll have a just outcome.”
• "This is Nixonian," Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey said in a statement. "Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special counsel to continue the Trump/Russia investigation."
• Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)“President Trump called me at 5:30 p.m. and indicated he would be removing Director Comey, saying the FBI needed a change. The next FBI director must be strong and independent and will receive a fair hearing in the Judiciary Committee.”
• Sherrod Brown – Democratic Senator from Ohio •
Now more than ever, we need an independent investigation into Russian ties to ensure American people can have full confidence in findings. pic.twitter.com/bPrbDnOA4e
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) May 9, 2017
• Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) “Now it is more clear than ever that we need an independent commission to get to the truth of Russia’s interference with our election.”
• Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said in a Twitter message that Mr. Comey “should be immediately called to testify in an opening hearing about the status of Russia/Trump investigation at the time he was fired.
• Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
"The decision by a President whose campaign associates are under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia to fire the man overseeing that investigation, upon the recommendation of an Attorney General who has recused himself from that investigation, raises profound questions about whether the White House is brazenly interfering in a criminal matter. While I had deep reservations with the way Director Comey handled the investigation into the Clinton emails which I made clear at the time and since, to take this action without addressing the profound conflict of interest of the President and Attorney General harkens back to a similarly tainted decision by President Nixon.
"The same President who has called the investigation into the Russian hacking of our democracy and the potential complicity of his campaign a ‘fake,’ cannot pretend to have made such a decision uninfluenced by his concerns over Comey's continued involvement in the investigation. It is more imperative than ever that an independent prosecutor be appointed to restore a modicum of public confidence – now completely lacking – that the criminal investigation will continue without further interference by the White House."
• Rep. Trey Gowdy (R- S.C.)
Statement on FBI Director Comey pic.twitter.com/vB822Nw5OR
— Trey Gowdy (@TGowdySC) May 9, 2017
• Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) To NBC News: “I regret that that took place. The president does have that authority, so I respect that.”
• Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee “Over the course of the last several months, Director Comey’s decisions on controversial matters have prompted concern from across the political spectrum and from career law enforcement experts.
“The handling of the Clinton email investigation is a clear example of how Comey’s decisions have called into question the trust and political independence of the FBI. In my efforts to get answers, the FBI, under Comey’s leadership, has been slow or failed to provide information that Comey himself pledged to provide.
“The effectiveness of the FBI depends upon the public trust and confidence. Unfortunately, this has clearly been lost. “The FBI Director serves at the pleasure of the president. Under these circumstances, President Trump accepted the recommendation of the Justice Department that the Director lacked the confidence needed to carry out his important duties.”
• Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) “Director Comey has served the country well in a number of different roles. Many, including myself, have questioned his actions more than once over the past year. I believe new leadership at the FBI will restore confidence in the organization and among the people who do the hard work to carry out its mission.”
One Iraqi reaction to James Comey being fired: "not even Maliki would have done that."
— Tamer El-Ghobashy (@TamerELG) May 9, 2017
Edward Snowden @Snowden This FBI Director has sought for years to jail me on account of my political activities. If I can oppose his firing, so can you.