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Cardin, Van Hollen React To Comey Testimony

June 9th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Neither of Maryland's senators were in the room when former FBI director James Comey delivered his riveting testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, but like many Americans, they watched intently. WBAL reports Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen offered their read on Comey's testimony on Friday. Cardin called the nearly three hours of public testimony "remarkable." "You had under oath the former FBI director contradicting the president, saying the president basically lied," Cardin said. Cardin said that it appeared clear to Comey that President Donald Trump was trying to influence the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, though he said that like Comey, he would leave the question of whether Trump's actions amounted to obstruction of justice up to special counsel Robert Mueller. Though some Republicans on the committee hastened to point out that Trump only said "I hope," never explicitly directing Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, Comey said that in the context of coming from the president in the Oval Office, he took the president's comments as a directive. "I think all of us would agree that Comey's interpretation was a fair interpretation," Van Hollen said. "I think any normal person would interpret that to mean 'drop that investigation.'" Van Hollen said Trump "abused his power and certainly crossed a line we don't expect presidents to cross."  Cardin, however, when asked if Comey's testimony built a case for impeachment–as two House Democrats are already trying to push–urged restraint. "I think you've got to be very careful when you go down that path and there is a process," he said. "At this particular moment, we have two major investigations going on. I think there should be a special commission looking at what Russia was doing in the United States. Let's get all the facts and let's understand all the facts before we come to any conclusions as to what should take place next." He said it needs to be clear what Russian actors did, what Americans may have been tied to this activity and whether their contact with Russian officials was innocent or, as Cardin put it, "part of the Russian strategy."

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