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Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier Compares Comey's Firing To Nixon


FBI Director James Comey was fired yesterday by President Trump. This is, of course, right in the middle of an investigation Comey was leading into Russian election meddling, including the question of whether Trump campaign advisers may have colluded with Russia.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier from here in California tweeted the firing of FBI Director Comey by POTUS is akin to Nixon and Watergate, we need an independent prosecutor. And she is a Democrat on the House intelligence committee. And she's on the line with us. Congresswoman, good morning.

JACKIE SPEIER: Good morning to you.

GREENE: So what makes this comparable to Watergate?

SPEIER: Well, if you recall the Saturday Night Massacre, where you had both the attorney general and deputy attorney general resign. And Archibald Cox, who was then the special prosecutor, was fired by President Nixon. This smells a whole lot like that in that the president is getting very concerned about the linkage between both him and his campaign and the Russian interference into our election. And he wanted to get rid of him. I think it's pretty simple.

GREENE: I mean, that, of course, is - seems to be speculation unless there's something that you know that we don't because the White House says that - and President Trump says that he was firing Comey out of concern for how he handled Hillary Clinton's emails, that investigation. And, you know, he was criticized by even Democrats for that.

SPEIER: Well, you know, he has no reluctance to fire people. If he felt that way, why didn't they fire him on January 20? If you look back at his comments during the campaign, particularly late in the campaign, he was talking about how magnificent Comey was. Even after he was elected, he was talking about the skills that Comey had. And he showed confidence his leadership.

I think this has everything to do with March 20. That was the day in which the open hearing by the House intelligence committee in which Director Comey really exposed that, in fact, there was more than just the interference into the election process here in the United States. The investigation also includes looking into collusion, or in his words, coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians. That changed everything. This is all an orchestrated effort by the president to undermine our democracy, I believe.

GREENE: You mentioned the open House intelligence committee hearing. You obviously sit in closed-door hearings and see a lot more than we in the public do. I know you can't can't reveal much, but do you know anything, or have you seen anything that suggests there is evidence of collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia?

SPEIER: Well, we don't have any proof yet, but I think that you can start, you know, drawing lines in between dots. And we did have a closed session this last week with Director Comey. And I must say as much as I think he threw the election to Donald Trump by coming out at the 11th hour and opening an investigation again into Hillary Clinton's emails, I was also very confident based on that hearing we had that he was leaving no stone unturned in trying to find out whether or not there has been collusion and whether or not the Trump campaign was involved in it.

So I really do think that we're on the verge of a constitutional crisis. And that's why you're seeing Democrats and Republicans alike right now speaking up and wanting to move towards a special council to address this grave injustice.

GREENE: Congresswoman, if the president put someone in as FBI director who you feel is credible and can lead this investigation credibly, would that go a good distance in satisfying you here?

SPEIER: Well, to the extent that we can gain that kind of assurance. You know, there is a great body of evidence right now in the hands of the FBI that we have not negotiated access to. Are we ever going to see that evidence? That's, you know, a huge question mark for all of us right now.

GREENE: OK. Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of the state of California. Congresswoman, thanks for your time this morning.

SPEIER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.