Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman on Thursday called for an independent investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Coffman’s Democratic challenger Jason Crow issued a similar call on Wednesday in the wake of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.
“The American people deserve the truth about any involvement Russia may have had in our elections, and they need to be able to trust the investigation and to trust its conclusion,” Coffman said in a statement. “Let’s get this divisive issue out of the way so that Congress and the administration can focus on fixing our health care system, reforming our tax code and repairing our crumbling infrastructure.”
Coffman’s congressional office pointed out it’s been the Aurora Republican’s stated position for nearly a month.
Three weeks ago, in an appearance on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily, Coffman told anchor Chuck Todd that “it may be time for an independent counsel” to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, saying the House Intelligence Committee “has been too politicized.”
Coffman was also one of the first Republicans to urge then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to resign when it emerged he’d lied to members of the administration about his contact with Russian officials.
Crow, a Denver attorney, told The Colorado Statesman on Wednesday he found it “very troubling” that Trump had fired three top federal officials — former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and former acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, in addition to Comey — who had been conducting or overseeing investigations into Russian involvement with the Trump campaign.
“This is a classic example of why we have independent or special prosecutors,” Crow said. “The most critical thing we face right now is having an independent person that can gets us the information and answers that we need. The American people deserve to know what happened, one way or the other. We deserve answers.”
Crow maintained that it shouldn’t be a partisan matter.
“This is an issue about what the rule of law in this country requires, what is right and how we avoid very obvious conflicts of interest to get the answers that we need to decide how to move forward,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, Coffman called Trump’s abrupt termination of Comey “quite a surprise” in a statement, although Coffman noted that he had been a longtime critic of the director’s handling of the Clinton email investigation and felt Comey “was no longer fit” to head the FBI.
“The timing of the president’s decision, however, does concern me,” Coffman said. “I think it may create the appearance that Comey was fired due to his role in the investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.” He added that he hopes Trump replaces Comey with a director “whose stature is such that it restores American people’s confidence in the independence and integrity of the FBI.”
Democrats Gabriel McArthur and David Arrestad have also announced they’re seeking the nomination to challenge Coffman in next year’s election.