Congressman Adam Schiff questions FBI Director James Comey's dismissal

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he did not see the firing of FBI Director James Comey coming.

"I was shocked like everyone else that the president would fire Director Comey so abruptly, particularly given that this recommendation came from the attorney general - someone who is supposed to have recused himself from any decision making on the Russia investigation," he said.

President Donald Trump fired Comey Tuesday afternoon as he was heading to an FBI recruitment event in Los Angeles. Comey apparently learned of his firing by seeing it on television after he had already left Washington, D.C. for L.A.

In a brief letter Tuesday to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI.

The administration paired the letter with a scathing review by Rod Rosenstein, the recently confirmed deputy attorney general, of how Comey handled the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email practices, including his decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing "derogatory information" about Clinton.

Trump also addressed the firing Wednesday during a press conference, where he said Comey was simply "not doing a good job."

He did not mention any effect Comey's dismissal might have on the FBI and congressional investigations into contacts between Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia. Schiff is part of that investigative committee.

He said he doesn't believe Comey was fired because of any missteps in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

"It's hard to believe the justification given by the president. It just doesn't pass the smell test. It certainly looks like it has much more to do with Russia than Hillary Clinton's emails," he said.

Schiff is especially concerned about reports that Comey was asking the Department of Justice for additional resources in the Trump-Russia investigation days before being fired.

"We need to find out if the FBI has everything they need - if they have the man power they need, if they have the money they need, if they have the independence that they need," he said.

He also said he is comfortable with Republican cooperation in the committee and they will have more open hearings on Russia soon.

Schiff hopes Republicans will join him in appointing a special prosecutor to head the investigation, which is what many people across social media called for after Comey's dismissal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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