Sen. Chuck Grassley Wednesday had a message for those in the media criticizing President Donald Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, and for the headlines calling the action Nixonian: "Suck it up and move on."
"Of course, I support it," the Iowa Republican, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" about Comey's firing. "The president did not fire the entire FBI. He fired the director of the FBI.
"And any suggestion that this is somehow going to stop the FBI investigation of the attempt by the Russians to influence the elections last fall is really patently absurd."
Grassley said Trump called him at about 5 p.m. Tuesday — about 45 minutes before the news was made public about Comey — to inform him about the decision.
"Maybe I shouldn't report about private telephone conversations, but I don't think the president would care," said Grassley. "He just wanted to inform me as chairman of the committee to tell me he was going to make this firing so I wasn't caught off guard.
"That's the way I got the message. It was a short message, a simple message, pretty down to Earth that he was in charge and acting . . . you can imagine the first time we haven't had a general or a politician as a president of the United States, you get a business person in there," Grassley said.
"Business people are really geared towards making decisions quickly and I guess that's what he was doing as a businessman," he added.
The FBI director reports to and is under the direction of the deputy attorney general, said Grassley, and that person is Rod Rosenstein, who wrote a memo recommending Comey be let go.
"He is well-respected because he has been under both Republican and Democrat administrations," said Grassley. "He was just approved by the Senate 94-6. He said that Comey, being head of the FBI, hurts the confidence of the public and the FBI and he should be replaced."
Trump doesn't necessarily need to follow Rosenstein's advice, Grassley continued, "but obviously a president ought to have a good reason for not taking it."
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