Colorado Democrats and Republicans agree — at least the ones who are talking. Appointing former FBI director Robert Mueller to get to the bottom of whatever is going on between the Trump administration, its associates and the Russian government is a good move. Democrats, though, are taking a “it’s about time!” stance, while Republicans are a bit more cautious.
Mueller was named “special counsel” on Wednesday. If you’re wondering what the difference is between a special prosecutor and a special counsel, CBS has a good breakdown here (it’s largely semantic), as well as a caveat about the limitations of this position. Mueller will answer to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who answers to the president, but he’ll have more independence than a U.S. attorney. As a prosecutor, he’ll be looking for evidence of criminal wrong-doing, but he won’t necessarily have to disclose misconduct that falls short of that.
Sen. Michael Bennet
Basically: Bennet has introduced legislation calling for an independent investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He first called for a special prosecutor back in March.
From the statement: “The American people deserve the truth. The questions associated with this investigation and the firing of Director Comey are fundamental to our national security and our democracy. This is a critical first step, but I still believe we need an independent commission.
“Congress also must conduct its oversight role in line with its Constitutional responsibilities, and we urge the majority to step up and push for a bipartisan and rigorous process in both the House and the Senate to accomplish that goal.”
Sen. Cory Gardner
Basically: Gardner has never actually called for a special prosecutor, but now that there is one, he supports it.
From the statement: “I fully support the decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the ongoing investigation into Russia. We need to get all the facts, and Mueller is the type of person who is respected and trusted by both Republicans and Democrats and will put country over politics.”
Rep. Diana DeGette (Denver)
Basically: She’s happy to see this. DeGette had previously sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asking for a special prosecutor.
From the statement: “With this step, the FBI is on a path to restoring public confidence in our democratic processes and institutions,” DeGette said. “We don’t yet know where this path may lead, but better to pursue bravely it than to let lingering questions and jarring daily developments further undermine our country.”
Rep. Jared Polis (Boulder)
Basically: Polis has been calling for an independent investigation for a while now. He’s also a sponsor on a bill to require an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.
From Twitter: “Justice Dept appoints former FBI Dir Rob Mueller as special counsel for Russia investigation-good step, independent commission still needed.”
Rep. Scott Tipton (Western Colorado)
Basically: He’s been pretty quiet about this.
From the statement: No official statement, but a spokeswoman told Colorado Politics earlier on Wednesday: “Congressman Tipton supports the House Oversight Committee’s request for Mr. Comey’s documents. Until he has access to them, the Congressman will not be commenting further.”
Rep. Ken Buck (Greeley and eastern plains)
Basically: Not a big talker when it comes to Russia and Trump.
From the statement: No official statement, but Buck similarly told Colorado Politics he was waiting and seeing. “I support the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s effort to review the Comey memo, and I would like to see Mr. Comey testify before Congress. As a prosecutor for 25 years, I value due process. I’m not going to reach a conclusion until I see all of the evidence.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colorado Springs)
Basically: Lamborn surprised some observers this week by saying the president should give a full accounting of his conversation with Russian diplomats. He hasn’t been a critic of the president, but he praised the decision to appoint Mueller.
From the statement: “I am pleased that the Trump Administration has appointed an honorable, respected, and capable man like former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. A Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, Director Mueller also led the FBI through the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, an event that occurred on only his sixth day on the job. He was so respected during his tenure, President Obama asked Congress to allow Mr. Mueller to stay in office for an additional two years beyond the normal 10-year term limit. I know that Director Mueller will work hard to find the full and complete truth surrounding the allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 election.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (Aurora)
Basically: At a town hall in April, Coffman said he wasn’t quite there yet when it came to special prosecutor, but by early May he was calling for an “independent investigation.” On Tuesday, he reiterated his call for a special prosecutor.
From the statement: “Smart move to appoint a former FBI director as a special counsel to lead the FBI Russian probe. I hope it will stop the partisan political circus on Capitol Hill and get down to the bottom of a growing list of allegations.”
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (Lakewood)
Basically: Perlmutter has had questions about Trump and Russia for a long time now, and he said this was a step in the right direction.
From the statement: “After calling for an independent investigation for months, I am pleased to see the DOJ appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. This is a step in the right direction to ensure a thorough and independent investigation.”
This post will be updated as we see new statements.