New details about President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey are unraveling quickly. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake still doesn’t know what to make of the decision, and he wants the American public to know he’s wrestling with the news.
“I've spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey's firing,” he tweeted on Tuesday night after the news broke. “I just can't do it.”
In the days since the firing, the Arizona Republican has done plenty to make it clear to the public that he is conflicted. On Wednesday, he still didn’t know what to think. “I just don’t know why this happened now. I’m having trouble with it still,” he told reporters. On NPR Thursday morning, he reiterated his confusion: “There have been some explanations given, not always consistent,” he said.
It’s clear he’s concerned about Comey’s firing. It’s just that he isn’t doing anything about it; Flake won’t publicly call for a special prosecutor or independent committee to investigate. Instead, he’s sticking to just agonizing over the news.
Flake's crisis is representative of the really difficult politics vulnerable Senate Republicans face over Comey. Flake is one of the two Republican senators looking at a difficult midterm election in 2018. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada is the other.
Flake and Heller have had to do their best to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. But Trump’s abrupt decision to fire Comey, paired with his low approval ratings and his constantly changing story about why he cut the FBI director loose, is leaving Republican senators hanging out to dry.
You can read the rest at Vox.