Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and
Gov. of Ohio John Kasich addressed a CNN town hall in Washington D.C. on Tuesday night amid a flurry of scandals roiling the Trump administration.
“I think this is a sad day,” said Sanders. “And it’s a sad period.”
Kasich agreed: “We find ourselves in a serious situation today. The things that have swirled around this White House are the reasons that caused me not to … support [Trump] both in the primary and going into that Republican convention.”
On Tuesday, the The New York Times published a bombshell report that Trump may have told former FBI director James Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia. The memo was supposedly written by Comey himself shortly after meeting Trump, one day after Flynn’s firing.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump told Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper moderated part of the panel and asked Kasich whether Trump’s alleged actions could be considered an obstruction of justice.
“I don’t want to speculate at this point,” said Kasich. “I don’t think it’s fair to anybody.”
However, Sanders took a more direct approach, calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed for the broad Russia-meddling investigation that has been “accelerating,” according to several media reports.
“Clearly where we are now … we need a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation to determine whether or not there was collusion,” said Sanders.
As Kasich responded to Sanders’ remarks with scepticism, Sanders said, “a new president is going to learn … I understand that. There is something unusual about this president.”
“You have never seen a president who has said … everything that you see on television is a lie … attack the judiciary, try to divide us up in the way that he has,” continued Sanders.
The two also offered advice for lawmakers going forward in the coming days, which will likely yield more information on the extent of Comey’s reports from his interactions with Trump.
“I think it would be awful for the country if the Democrats use this as a political opportunity, and ran a partisan effort,” Sanders said. “But it is absolutely imperative that Republicans come forward. This is too serious a problem to run away from.”
“It’s absolutely imperative that Republicans work with us in an open and fair process.”
“I believe this is not a time for Republicans to hide, and I also don’t think it’s a time for Democrats to exploit,” said Kasich.
“It is very important that we get to the bottom of this. Let’s put our country first and we’ll come out of this better.”
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