Removing Comey as FBI director will help bring Russia investigation to an end, says White House

WASHINGTON — The White House said Thursday that removing FBI Director James Comey from his post may hasten the agency’s investigation into Russian meddling.

“We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity,” said deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, referring to the FBI’s probe into Moscow’s interference in last year’s election. “And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.”

The statement was a surprising admission from the White House that Comey’s sudden dismissal on Tuesday may have an effect on the Russia probe. Officials have insisted the removal came because of Comey’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, and was unrelated to his oversight of the look into Russia’s election hacking and possible ties between Trump advisers and Russian operatives.

Sanders said Thursday that Trump would “love nothing more for this investigation to continue to its completion.”

But Trump himself has cast doubt on the investigation, suggesting any question of ties between his campaign and Russia are a “hoax.”

Earlier in her briefing Thursday, Sanders claimed that Comey’s firing had not altered the Russia investigation at all.

“Any investigation that was taking place Monday was taking place today,” Sanders said, suggesting that was an indication that Comey’s firing would not impact the ongoing probe.

In an interview today, the President said he was planning to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation that came from the Attorney General’s office, which contradicts statements made yesterday by the white house and by Vice President Pence.

Also today in Congress, we heard from the acting director of the FBI, and former Indiana Senator Dan Coats, who now serves as director of national intelligence.

“The more we inform our people about the Russians…..the better,” said Coats.

Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly said, “I was privileged to serve with (Comey), he’s always done the right thing and I know he will here as well. My commitment is to find out what happened, how it happened, and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

You can see an interview with Donnelly Sunday on this week’s edition of IN Focus. It airs at 9:30 a.m. here on FOX59.