Luther Strange defends Comey firing: 'I have the utmost confidence in Jeff Sessions'

By Howard Koplowitz

AL.com

U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., said Wednesday he supports President Trump's abrupt decision to fire FBI Director James Comey - a decision that was reached in part after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Strange's predecessor, recommended Comey's termination.

"I have the utmost confidence in Sen. Sessions, now General Sessions," Strange said Wednesday in an interview with Fox News.

Strange declined to comment on the timing of Comey's firing, which came in the midst of the FBI investigation into contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, saying, "I'd have to leave that to the Trump administration to go through their thinking on that."

Still, Alabama's junior senator - who replaced Sessions in February - said the move "doesn't bother me because the confidence level between the deputy attorney general and the director of the FBI has to be very high in order for them to function."

Strange was referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who argued that Comey should have been fired because he mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.

He backed Sessions' recommendation to fire Comey even though Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after it was revealed the then-senator met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., including once during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Asked if Sessions' recommendation was appropriate, Strange said, "I think so. I support Generals Sessions and Rosenstein. I think they did the right thing."