Democrats maintain pressure on Trump over Comey firing

"I think as well our institutions are under assault internally". Sessions has faced questions over whether his involvement in Comey's firing violates his pledge to recuse himself from investigations into Russian interference in the election. That being said, though 90 percent of respondents were aware of Trump's firing of Comey, a total of a third said they didn't know enough about the story to have an opinion, which seems like a lot of people either not paying much attention or still unwilling to form an opinion, despite the wall-to-wall media coverage of the White House crisis. Lee said he was "absolutely serious about it".

"I will just say that the developments of the past week are very bothersome, very disturbing to me", Clapper said.

Almost two thirds did think the FBI was up to that task, but the future of the FBI investigation is now unclear following Trump's firing of Comey - which Trump has admitted was at least partially in response to Comey's handling of that investigation. He left open the possibility that Democrats might try and withdraw support for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director unless the Justice Department names a special prosecutor.

Some Republicans and Democrats alike raised alarm bells over Comey's firing, over its timing and the potential reasons behind it. "If there's tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over".

"First of all, we have to make sure that these tapes, if they exist, don't mysteriously disappear", Warner said. Changing rationales for the firing offered by White House aides added an element of chaos to the president's action.

Clapper spoke following Trump's sudden firing of Comey last week, which drew sharp criticism because it came amid the FBI's probe into Russian Federation meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump presidential campaign.

Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, at first saying he accepted recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, that he be ousted because of the role he played a year ago in the investigation into Trump's presidential election challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and the way she handled national security material on her private email server.

Initial contenders for the job, according to a person familiar with the matter, included Cornyn, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Justice Department official Alice Fisher, and Michael Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.

Among those interviewed was Adam Lee, special agent in charge of the FBI's Richmond, Virginia, office. Comey, for instance, was a former United States Attorney in Manhattan before being appointed deputy attorney general by George W. Bush.

Lee made a counterintuitive suggestion meant to draw bipartisan support: Merrick Garland, the judge nominated previous year by former president Barack Obama to the Supreme Court but never given a hearing by the Republican-controlled Senate. -U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, a Bush appointee who struck down the centerpiece of the Obama administration's health care law in 2010.

- Rogers. The FBI Agents Association says it believes his diverse background makes him the best choice. -Frances Townsend, a former Bush homeland security and counterterrorism adviser. "So you don't need a special prosecutor", Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press" programme.

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