President Donald Trump took aim at Democrats who had expressed anger at his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.
"Dems have been complaining for months & months about Dir. Comey," the president tweeted on May 10, according to Business Insider. "Now that he has been fired they PRETEND to be aggrieved. Phony hypocrites!"
Trump was referring to criticism by some Democrats of Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails during the presidential campaign.
Democrats focused their criticism of Trump’s decision to fire Comey on the timing of the move and the motivation behind it.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California pointed out that Comey's firing came shortly after the FBI sent subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser. Flynn is under investigation for his ties to Russia, which led to his resignation in February.
"This is happening right at that time," Feinstein said of the Comey firing, according to The Guardian. "So one has to think -- is it really to affect this investigation?"
In a speech on May 10, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, the Minority Leader, called for the most senior career civil servant in the U.S. Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor. He also demanded that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, brief the Senate on the events surrounding Comey's firing.
"What we are seeking -- the only thing we are seeking -- are assurances that this investigation is carried out in an impartial, independent way," Schumer added. "That we get all the facts. That we get to the very bottom of it."
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who compared Comey's firing to Watergate, declared that his Republican counterparts were "thinking seriously about the constitutional crisis" we're facing, and that "they are deeply troubled by the potential confrontation, not unlike United States v Nixon."
But Republicans resisted calls for a special prosecutor.
"Today we'll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation which can only serve to impede the current work being done to not only discover what the Russians may have done but also to let this body and the national security community develop countermeasure," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky."
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also took up this point.
"I am concerned that the Senate investigation by the intelligence committee is now at a critical state. We've made a lot of progress in the past month and I would be concerned if an independent counsel could shut that down," Collins said.
Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland saw things differently.
"Before yesterday, there were a few Republicans who thought that was a good idea," Cardin said of the proposal for a special prosecutor. "I expect that there's going to be a public reaction demanding that we have that independent investigation."