Hoosiers react to Comey’s testimony

By Abrahm Hurt

TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – About a month after former FBI Director James Comey’s firing, he testified Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“The American people deserve answers about Russia’s efforts to influence our election so those responsible can be held accountable, and we can take the necessary steps to better protect ourselves in the future,” Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, said in a press release. “Those are goals I share with colleagues, Republican and Democratic, and why I welcomed the news of someone as experienced and respected as Robert Mueller being selected as special counsel.”

Republican Peter Rusthoven, who served as associate counsel to President Ronald Reagan, said during the radio show “No Limits,” the testimony was unlike anything he had ever seen.

“The testimony itself was extraordinary. Conversations with the president of the United States that include things like ‘I want your loyalty, how do you like your job and I’d really like this investigation to go away.’ These are not ordinary kinds of conversation,” Rusthoven said.

Comey said during his testimony he wasn’t asked explicitly to end the investigation but he felt Trump was directing him to do so.

Democrat and former Indiana House of Representatives member and law professor, David Orentlicher ran for Congress in 2016. He said determining if President Donald Trump actually obstructed justice isn’t easy. 

“It’s tricky in a few ways,” Orentlicher said. “One is because he is the prosecutor in chief. It’s his  to set policy. So, if you wanted to think of it, an innocent explanation for what happened, we’ve got an FBI director who a lot of people feel mishandled a politically sensitive investigation with Hillary Clinton and now the president is worried. Here’s who arguably botched an investigation before and do I really want him sailing off on another witch hunt given his track record? And if the president really feels like nothing happened, he has good reason to believe that this is unjustified, then you can imagine why he would be uncomfortable with this FBI Director pursuing it.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana, said the testimony by Comey leaves Washington in a position to focus on other “major” challenges.

“Those hoping for fireworks or a smoking gun may be disappointed by today’s hearing, but I am hopeful that now Congress can let the independent prosecutor do his job and draw conclusions once the official investigation is complete,” Banks said in a statement. “We need to focus on the major legislative challenges before us, like reforming our broken tax code, rebuilding our military and improving the care our veterans receive.”

Abrahm Hurt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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