How do Rob Portman and Bob Latta score on Russia?

russiaThe wheels are coming off the administration: within the last week, the President fired the director of the FBI, used his deputy AG to cover up the reason for the firing, then admitted on a national TV interview that, yes, the Russia investigation was on his mind. Then, the President threatened Comey not to “leak,” and also invited two high ranking Russian officials into the Oval Office, but excluded the US (but not Russian) press and then divulged to these officials classified intelligence information, mainly because he’s a braggart who doesn’t know any better, it seems.

Congress is the a constitutionally mandated check on the President. But Republican leaders have been complicit or quiet as this dangerous chaos reign. How are Rob and Bob representing us?

Rob Portman

According to the Toledo Blade, here is Rob’s official statement on the Comey firing:

“Given the timing and circumstances of the decision, I believe the White House should provide a fuller explanation regarding the president’s rationale. The American people must have faith in a strong, independent FBI. I’m concerned about eroding trust in this premier law enforcement agency. It is important that whoever is nominated to succeed Director Comey is a highly-qualified and respected leader who will provide a fresh start for the bureau,” he said.

It is laudable that Portman questions the “timing and circumstances.” But explaining those circumstances — the Russia investigation that Comey was leading — would be even more clear.

Also, Portman does not call for any kind of independent investigation of the President’s Russian ties, unlike his Democratic counterparts, and this reluctance ignores what the majority of Americans are calling for.

Senator Portman has not released an official statement about the sharing of classified information with the Russians, but it’s worth remembering what he said when Hillary Clinton was on the hot seat about classified information:

“The FBI Director’s statement today is deeply troubling. It raises additional concerns about Secretary Clinton’s conduct and mishandling of classified information.  This new investigation must be thorough and prompt. The American people deserve answers.”

Unless he plans to promote a hypocritical double standard, Senator Portman should be even more critical of the confirmed act of the President.

UPDATE: Rob Portman’s Official Statement, 5/16/17

Cincinnati.com has reported on Rob Portman’s official position about the President’s sharing of classified information with Russian officials. More local reporting.

“We need answers from the White House about what exactly happened in that meeting, and I believe the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee should fully review the matter and conduct the appropriate oversight… I am concerned about the potential consequences of providing highly classified information to Russia—especially intelligence provided to us in confidence by an ally.”

A little short of asking for an investigation, but you’re on the right track, Senator. Thank you!

Bob Latta

According to the Blade, Bob Latta “expressed no misgivings about the FBI director’s firing.” Here’s his official statement:

“The FBI plays a vital role in our democracy, and it’s important that the public have faith in the leadership at the Bureau. At the recommendation of the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, President Trump decided a change needed to be made.”

Since the President’s interview on NBC, it’s clear that this version of events is not actually true: the President was planning to fire the director regardless of what the AG said. So… Does Bob have any “misgivings” now?

Bob Latta has not released a statement about the recent report about Trump revealing classified information to the Russians, but given his affinity for the President, criticism is unlikely.

Contact Rob Portman and Bob Latta

Here are some comments for Rob and Bob:

  • The reason for Comey’s firing and the President’s threats against him should be investigated and evaluated as a possible obstruction of justice.
  • Attorney General Sessions recused himself from anything having to do with the 2016 presidential campaigns. He should be questioned about his role in the firing of Comey and should not participate in the selection of a new FBI director.
  • The new director should NOT be a partisan operative.
  • The deputy AG Rosenstein should appoint a special prosecutor, particularly because he has proven to be a tool of the President himself — not an independent minded official.
  • Rob Portman and Bob Latta should release their official statements about the President’s discussion of classified information with foreign agents from a hostile Russian government.

We need strong leadership from Congress NOW! They are the only check on this reckless President.