Providence Journal: R.I. delegation backs naming of special counsel in Russia probe

Providence Journal: R.I. delegation backs naming of special counsel in Russia probe

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., called the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel in the Russia investigation “an important first step toward hopefully ensuring that a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation is allowed to proceed.

“This should not be a political issue,” he added in a statement issued Wednesday night. “Our democracy – and not just one candidate or party – was attacked by a hostile foreign power.

“A truly independent investigation is the only way to restore the American people’s confidence in the integrity of the ongoing inquiry into connections between Russia, the President, and his campaign.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also praised the decision to appoint a special counsel.

“Russian interference in our election and the troubling actions of this White House demand the fullest accounting of the truth,” Whitehouse said in a statement. “Mr. Mueller has been granted authority to pursue whatever he deems ‘related matters.’ Those matters should include the White House’s potential misconduct in terminating Director Comey; potential obstruction of justice in the FBI investigation of General Flynn; and the involvement of Attorney General Sessions in these decisions.”

U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., in a statement on Wednesday, agreed that the appointment was “a positive step forward,” and he praised Mueller as “a public servant of the highest caliber.”

“Now, it’s critical that the Trump administration make clear that former Director Mueller will have the resources and independence he needs to thoroughly conduct this investigation. He must be allowed to follow the facts where they lead and ensure that justice is served,” Cicilline said. “While this appointment is an important step, it does not eliminate the need for an independent commission to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The American people deserve answers and the peace of mind that our elections are free from foreign interference. Republicans and Democrats have a responsibility to establish an independent commission that can achieve these goals free of any interference from the Trump administration.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., also applauded the decision to appoint Mueller.

“This appointment is long overdue,” Langevin said in a statement. “Since the Attorney General recused himself months ago, it has been abundantly clear that the Administration is incapable of overseeing a fair and impartial investigation. This was thrown into stark relief yesterday with the stunning revelation that, according to multiple reports, the President pressured then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.”