It will require a Republican in Congress – not President Donald Trump – to help "clear the air" with regard to FBI Director's James Comey's firing, the dinner meeting between Comey and the president in January, and the ongoing investigation into potential Trump campaign collusion, because the president is too involved and needs to "back off," Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday.
"I think it requires somebody like me, a Republican, to call Comey before the Judiciary Committee to let him explain that conversation," Sen. Graham told host Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Graham is siding with President Trump on his claims there was no campaign collusion with Russia, but the president's actions – including a tweet this week alluding to "tapes" of his conversation with Comey – are getting in the way and affecting the optics.
"Right now, I do not believe President Trump is a target or subject of any investigation regarding collusion with the Russians," Graham told Todd. "That's what I believe. But this tweet has to be answered.
"I would advise the president not to tweet or comment about the investigation as we go forward. . . . The president needs to back off and let the investigation go forward. We need to call Comey and get to the bottom of all of this."
Graham added the ensuing search and hiring of Comey's replacement as FBI director should be a nonpartisan agent of the FBI, and he hopes President Trump does the right thing there.
"I think it's time for an FBI agent to lead the FBI," Graham said. "You talk about a new person to lead the FBI, how about an FBI agent above reproach? . . . How about the idea of an FBI agent leading the FBI, promoting within the ranks? There's so many good agents, men and women out there capable of leading the agency.
"This is up to the president. He has the capability to pick somebody beyond reproach outside the political lane. I hope he'll do that; I'm ready to do that. I'm ready to move on and pick new FBI agent."
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