After James Comey firing, Democrats call for special prosecutor in Russia probe

Comey firing fallout

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats on Wednesday accused President Trump of courting a constitutional crisis by firing FBI Director James Comey.

"What happened yesterday was truly shocking," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington.

"He feels the dragnet tightening on the Russia investigation," said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia. "I believe that's why he let Comey go."

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They argued there is now just one solution: A special prosecutor.

But the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, said that would impede the Russia investigations that are already underway.

He accused the other side of shedding crocodile tears for Comey.

"Our Democratic colleagues, complaining about the removal of an FBI director who they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized," McConnell said.  

Democrats do have a history of slamming Comey for his handling of the Clinton investigation.

"The FBI director has no credibility!" Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, said this winter. 

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But Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey argued it's the timing of Comey's dismissal that's problematic.  

"Once the world knew that this investigation was underway, you can't fire the investigator in the middle of an investigation," the senator said. 

Several Republicans agreed, including the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, R-North Carolina.

"The timing and the reasons for this decision make little sense to me," Burr said. "And I don't think I've heard anything since last night to clarify that in any way."

Burr and his Democratic counterpart Mark Warner have asked the now-former FBI director to come before the committee next Tuesday.

"I think Jim Comey ought to have, if not his day in court, at least his day on the Hill to be able to lay out his side of the case," Warner said.

To show that their Russia investigation is continuing apace, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday night they have issued a subpoena for documents belonging to fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The committee requested those documents last month, but he declined to comply.

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.