Smucker responds appropriately to Comey firing

May 15, 2017
In The News

Lloyd Smucker wants answers. He’s not alone. The freshman congressman addressed the Comey firing during the Rotary Club’s question-and-answer session.

“It’s certainly incumbent on Congress to be sure that the American public know what is happening in instances like this and that we uncover everything that can be uncovered,” Smucker told about 150 people at the meeting.

Smucker, a Republican, who called the letter released by the Trump administration an “inadequate” explanation of the firing, also issued a strong statement in response to Trump’s abrupt dismissal of the FBI director.

“The decision to dismiss Director Comey raises serious and legitimate questions about timing, intent, and the integrity of ongoing investigations. My constituents deserve answers and I hope to see a full explanation soon. Additionally, while I support current congressional investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, I believe we need a fresh start. It’s time for Congress to fully examine all circumstances surrounding Russia’s involvement, and to look at ways to ensure a fair and straightforward investigation.”

We appreciate Smucker’s candid response. His constituents and all Americans deserve an explanation and it will be up to Smucker and his colleagues in Congress to help fill in the blanks.

Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, a former U.S. attorney whose term overlapped Comey’s as both a U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general in the Justice Department, called Comey “a man of the highest integrity, ability and intellect.”

Meehan also called for a continuation of the investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

“I’m hopeful that new, independent leadership will restore this confidence and continue to conduct ongoing investigations into Russian interference in our elections with integrity,” Meehan said in a statement.

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey was somewhat more guarded about the firing:

“I have doubted the ability of Director Comey to lead the FBI effectively for some time now but the timing of his dismissal is unfortunate. It is now up to the president to appoint, and the Senate to confirm, a successor who has unimpeachable credentials and integrity and who enjoys the confidence of the American people. The next FBI director should continue pursuing ongoing investigations, including the 2016 presidential campaign,” Toomey’s statement read.

We would like to have seen something more pointed and specific from Toomey. The timing of Comey’s firing was more than “unfortunate.” It was bewildering and highly questionable.

Perhaps that’s why Smucker’s response is worth noting.

Not even four months on the job and Smucker has already taken his share of lumps — including on our Op-Ed/Letters page — for his stance on health care, immigration, for not holding an in-person town hall, among other things.

It would have been comfortable for Smucker, especially at this stage of his congressional career, to keep his head down and issue something soft and marshmallowy. But he didn’t do that, and we laud him for it. He appears committed to finding answers.

Smucker has stopped short of calling for a special prosecutor. But we hope he will be among the leaders in Congress in the quest for answers.

When we endorsed Smucker in October, we wrote that one of his great strengths in the state Senate was working with people across the aisle. Despite his early challenges, and some of his positions with which we’ve taken issue, we still believe Smucker has that capability. And now he has a unique opportunity.

In our endorsement of Smucker, we said that the last thing Washington needs is another partisan warrior.

That was true in the fall. It might be even truer now.