Democrats have persistently called for a special congressional investigation of all matters at the intersection of Russia and the 2016 presidential campaign. The firing of James Comey has renewed such calls and made them more vociferous. But has it created momentum for such an investigation?
As of now, the answer appears to be: no.
Don’t take my word for it. Amber Phillip of the Washington Post writes:
President Trump just cut off the head [note: hyperbole alert] of Washington’s most apolitical investigation of his presidential campaign associates’ connections with Russia. To make up for it, Democrats think Congress should appoint a special investigator unbeholden to them or the Trump administration.
Except, it looks as though that’s not going to happen.
Phillip reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “basically flat-out said he wouldn’t support a special investigation.” McConnell explained that the various committees in Congress already looking into Russian meddling in the election will suffice. “Today we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done,” he added.
That’s the Leaders’ view. What about the rank-and-file?
Among Republicans, only Sen. John McCain has called for a special investigaton. But McCain called for that months ago. Comey’s sacking, though criticized by some Republican Senators, hasn’t caused a single one to say we need a special investigation.
One the House side, according to Phillip, several moderate Republicans want a special investigation, but almost all of them already thought there should be one. She concludes:
No one in Washington’s mind has been changed by Comey’s firing, it seems. People who were calling for a special investigator before are still calling for one now. People who weren’t still aren’t.
This might change if President Trump botches the appointment of a new director — e.g. by appointing Chris Christie. Don’t expect that to happen.