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Lankford: Best to Let Russia Investigation Run Its Course

“The best politics would be do the right thing,” says Lankford

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is pushing a proposal to change the rules for handling nominations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is pushing a proposal to change the rules for handling nominations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee is reiterating his advice that President Donald Trump should let Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation run its course.

Sen. James Lankford said in an interview taped Thursday that the best strategy will be to let the chips fall where they may, citing the example of how the firing of FBI Director James Comey precipitated an expansion of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, rather than cut it off.

“I have said all along the best thing for the president and the presidency is to be able to get the investigation complete, get it done,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “The best politics would be ‘do the right thing’ and then to be able to walk through the process from there.”

Lankford said that the Mueller query, as well as House and Senate investigations, should get proper access to documents related to Comey, the ousted FBI chief who is now on a book tour. Watch: Senators Support Mueller Protection Bill For Different Reasons

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Speaking during an interview for the Sunday C-SPAN program “Newsmakers,” Lankford told Roll Call and The Washington Post that he would not be agreeing with Republican members of the House talking up efforts to remove senior Justice Department officials.

“I’m not calling the impeachment of Rod Rosenstein, nor for Jeff Sessions or any of that group. Nor for Mueller, at that point,” Lankford said. “The best thing that can happen for the country is for all of the individuals doing the investigation to finish the investigation. Everyone will look at it after the fact, take in all the facts that are put out there.”

But he also said he was was not supportive of bipartisan legislation before the Senate Judiciary Committee designed to shield the special counsel from improper firing by Trump.

“It just becomes a political vote and a way to somehow try to smear the president, but it doesn’t accomplish anything at this point,” he said. “I would rather say, I’m going to take the president at his word. If the president chooses to fire Muller or to walk through on that, we’re going to have to face some very different conversations at that point.”

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