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The Republican who was both attorney general and White House counsel to President George W. Bush criticized as “totally inappropriate” that President Trump's claim in his letter firing FBI Director James B. Comey that Comey had three times assured the president that he was not under investigation.
“Including it in that letter seemed totally inappropriate,” Alberto R. Gonzales, Bush’s former lawyer, told CNN on Wednesday.
Gonzales also suggested that he has some doubt as to substance of the president’s claim. He said it would be inappropriate if Comey did in fact offer Trump assurance that he was not part of the FBI’s investigation of both Russian meddling in the 2016 election to undercut Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and possible complicity by the Trump campaign. Similarly, Gonzales said it would be inappropriate if Trump had asked for such assurance.
The president’s letter firing Comey did not elaborate on the three instances in which the FBI director allegedly reassured Trump, nor has the White House done so since the letter’s release Tuesday evening.
Trump wrote to Comey, “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau.”
Gonzales added his voice to a those of a growing number of Republicans who have said, in the wake of Trump’s firing of the man leading an investigation of potential Russia-Trump campaign collusion, that they would support creation of an independent investigatory commission or special prosecutor, as many Democrats demand.