Connecticut officials, residents react to Comey's testimony - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut officials, residents react to Comey's testimony

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James Comey. (CBS photo) James Comey. (CBS photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

As ex-FBI director James Comey testified in front of a Congressional committee, Connecticut officials began to weigh in on what he said.

Comey spoke about discussions he had with President Donald Trump related to his firing and its potential ties to the Russian collusion investigation.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal posted to Twitter on Thursday and praised the questions by Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.

"He's right," Blumenthal said. "We can't let anything or anyone stop us from getting answers."

He also liked the issues addressed by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.

"Glad [Sen. Wyden] raised the issue of officials [with] Russian contacts remaining on [the] Trump team, despite warning from [Former Attorney General Sally] Yates on [Gen. Michael] Flynn."

He ended his posts by echoing a statement by Comey, which referenced the Russians coming after America.

"The Russians attacked our nation and collusion with them is a serious crime," he said.

Sen. Chris Murphy released a statement following Comey's testimony. He said it's hard to overstate the impact of it.

"For the first time, under oath and penalty of perjury, the former FBI Director testified that the president repeatedly pressed him for a pledge of loyalty, and asked him to drop the investigation into illegal activity of a White House staffer at the center of the Russia probe," Murphy said. "A couple months later, after neither request was fulfilled, Trump fired him. That confirms that media reports aren’t ‘fake news’ – they’re very real and very concerning.”

Murphy said it seems like the walls are closing in on Trump.

"What’s most important is that investigators in the Senate and at the Department of Justice get all the facts and find the truth," he said. "If the White House’s account differs from what we heard today, the American people deserve to hear the president’s side of the story in a similar forum – under oath and open to the press."

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty issued a statement saying “Director Comey’s testimony confirmed many of the most troubling news reports about President Trump’s conduct, including that President Trump may have inappropriately interfered with an FBI investigation into a former member of his administration. Director Comey’s testimony that President Trump sought ‘loyalty’ from the FBI Director and may have expected preferential treatment in exchange for keeping him in his post is also profoundly disturbing. Congress and the Department of Justice must continue their dogged pursuit of the facts, wherever they may lead.”

Comey said he believes he was fired because of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling with the 2016 election as well as Russia’s ties with Trump's campaign. 

"What we've seen in the past year, past several month is that people who are inclined to support President Donald Trump are going to either going to try and challenge the fact, which I don't think that they are going to be able to do very well or dismiss the facts,” said UConn Associate Professor of Political Science Ron Schurin.

Comey disclosed that President Trump demanded his "loyalty" and directly pushed him to "lift the cloud" of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the FBI Russia probe.

"If there's a basic belief in the integrity of the president, even damning evidence is something the president can survive,” Schurin said.

He added that repetitive calls questioning the president's credibility can have an impact.

"It would be great to just see a nice outcome come from the interviews. I think in the past they've kind of left it off empty handed so it would be nice to actually see something come out of it,” said Matthew Whalen of West Hartford.

Trump has continuously called attention to Comey's credibility, but has not yet publicly commented on the testimony.

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