Sen. Richard Durbin
Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said Thursday after fired FBI Director James Comey’s explosive testimony on Capitol Hill that no person, not even the president, should try to influence or stop a criminal investigation.
"The question for the American people is: Who do you trust?" Durbin said in a statement released after Comey testified. "Director Comey kept extensive records of what the President asked of him, and agreed to testify publicly under oath. That speaks volumes."
"No person — not even the President — should try to influence or stop a criminal investigation," Durbin said.
Comey said he interpreted President Donald Trump’s earlier words to him to mean the president wanted him to end the FBI’s criminal probe of Trump’s then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and contacts with Russians. Trump fired Comey on May 9.
Durbin also said former FBI Director Robert Mueller, now a special counsel handling the Justice Department investigation, was "the right person for this historic assignment."
Durbin sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of a handful of congressional panels investigating Comey’s ouster and potential Trump campaign coordination with Russian operatives.
Among the key moments of Comey’s testimony was his insistence that the Russians interfered with the presidential election. "It’s not a close call. That happened."
Comey, when asked if he had any doubt the Russian government was behind the cyber intrusion into state voter files, said no. The Illinois State Board of Elections was among those hacked last summer.
He also said the Russian meddling was a long-term practice and "they’ll be back."
Comey, when asked if he believed Trump had colluded with Russia, said it was not a question he should answer in an open hearing. He said it would be answered by the ongoing Justice Department probe.
He also said he did not know if Trump’s conduct rose to the level of obstruction of justice. "That’s Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out," he said.