Schumer: I told Trump he was 'making a big mistake' firing James Comey

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he personally pushed back over the phone against President Donald Trump over his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

Trump’s decision came in the midst of the FBI’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I told the president ‘Mr. President, with all due respect, you’re making a big mistake,'” Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the minority leader of the Senate, said in a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Schumer slammed the White House’s decision to fire Comey, which hinged on Comey’s public announcement of his decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

“The first question the administration has to answer is: Why now?” Schumer asked, saying Comey “badly shattered” the criminal justice system.

“We know that the House is investigating Russian interference in our election that benefitted the Trump campaign,” Schumer said. “We know the Senate is investigating. We know the FBI has been looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians — a very serious offence. Were those investigations getting too close to home for the president?”

Schumer’s response was somewhat more muted than those of other congressional Democrats, many of whom labelled Trump “Nixonian.”

Several senators including Edward Markey and Brian Schatz launched into a tweetstorm, suggesting that Comey’s firing represented a “constitutional crisis.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez declared the move a “brazen and disgraceful abuse of power.”

“The fact that the leadership of the Justice Department was complicit in manufacturing this joke of a rationale for Comey’s dismissal at the request of Trump is further evidence that nobody in this administration can be trusted to lead an honest investigation into a serious national security issue,” Perez said.

“It is time for leaders in both parties to come together and call for the appointment of a special prosecutor at the Department of Justice and an independent commission to conduct the kind of investigation that the American people deserve.”

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