Shaheen says new Trump tweet another reason 'to get to the bottom' of Russia investigation
SALEM – New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators repeated calls for an independent investigation into alleged Russian interference into last year’s presidential election and possible links between Moscow and Trump campaign officials.
And Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan also told NH1 News that former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte has the qualifications to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to replace the now-fired James Comey.
Shaheen and Hassan spoke with NH1 News after taking questions at an Friday morning event hosted by the Greater Salem and Greater Derry Londonderry Chambers of Commerce. At the same time the gathering was taking place, President Donald Trump appeared to fire off a thinly veiled threat against Comey, whom Trump fired earlier this week.
"James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press,” the President wrote on Twitter.
The tweet seemed to suggest that there may be possibly recorded conversations of an dinner Trump and Comey had earlier this year, a meeting that both men had referenced in recent days. And it seemed to suggest that those tapes, if they exist, could be used by the President to counter Comey.
It was the latest bombshell between Trump and the ousted FBI director, who had been overseeing the Russia investigation.
Asked by NH1 News about the President’s tweet, Shaheen said “this is why we need to get to the bottom of the Russia investigation. The public has a right to know what happened, what anybody related to the Trump campaign knew about that. And if there’s something there, that needs to come out. If there’s nothing there, we need to know that too. We can’t have this hanging over the head of this administration and this Congress and this country.”
Hassan also called for an independent investigation, telling NH1 News “what I am focused on is getting a special prosecutor to look into the potential and alleged involvement of the Trump campaign or Trump associates with Russia.”
“I think when you review what’s happened, both in terms of our intelligence agencies, all 17 of them concluding in non-classified report that Russia did interfere with our elections and now you see the firing of Director Comey, this abrupt firing by the President, who has himself stated that it’s related to the Russian investigation, I think it’s absolutely essential to reassure the American people that we have a special prosecutor who’s truly independent and I’ll continue to push for that,” she added.
Shaheen, Hassan, say Ayotte has qualifications to serve as FBI director
The White House is now starting the process of finding a replacement to serve as FBI director. One name that Politico reports is on the President’s list is Ayotte, the former New Hampshire attorney general who served one term in the U.S. Senate. Ayotte, a Republican, was defeated last November in her re-election bid by then-Gov. Hassan in one of the most expensive and negative Senate showdowns in the country.
Shaheen said “I think it’s way too early to decide who may be nominated to the FBI and the fact is before I’m going to support anybody to be the new director of the FBI, I want to see a special counsel appointed to get to the bottom of the Russian interference in our elections.”
Asked if she thinks Ayotte is qualified to serve as FBI director, Shaheen said “I do.”
Hassan was also asked about Ayotte. She said “I think that this is a matter of qualifications to be sure, and yes she has some good qualifications, but I think it’s really important that whoever is the next director of the FBI is, is appointed in a way that reassures the American people that politics has nothing to do with this.”
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan answer questions at an event hosted in Salem by the Greater Salem and Greater Derry Londonderry Chambers of Commerce, on May 12, 2017