More than a dozen Republican senators voiced concerns Wednesday over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, in a series of statements suggesting the GOP was not yet prepared to close ranks behind its president.
The reaction was not universal.
In a letter circulated by the White House, Mr Trump told Comey: "It is essential that we find new leadership for the Federal Bureau of Investigation that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission".
"Sources at the White House described scenes of confusion in the hours following news of Trump firing Comey".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a press statement which included comments he made on the Senate floor on Wednesday, argued that "what we have now, Mr. President, is our Democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an FBI Director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized, by a man, Rod Rosenstein, whom they repeatedly and effusively praised - when Mr. Rosenstein recommended Mr. Comey's removal for numerous very reasons they have complained about".
Klobuchar was among those condemning the firing Wednesday.
"The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey. but now they play so sad!" he tweeted.
He also dismissed Democratic calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Moscow's role in the election and possible ties between Trump associates and Russian Federation.
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Karen Handel says Trump's move is "probably overdue". "Of course in any situation you have a variety of viewpoints and it's fair to say not everyone agreed with him, but his reputation was that of a respected leader in the organization". The Trump administration's communications office was totally unprepared. Comey was in the Los Angeles FBI field office when he learned of his dismissal from television reports.
The public embarrassment only compacted the effect on agents, who nearly universally agreed the situation was handled inappropriately. "Not a good situation". Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said a new investigation would "only serve to impede" existing probes such as one under way in the Senate intelligence committee.
But while the impact may not immediately hit the mission of agents, the overall morale of the agency could continue be affected.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said: "I do have questions about why he was dismissed at this time given his service and performance". "The FBI is supposed to be somewhat impenetrable or somewhat immune to the politics, but I think unfortunately this shows that that's not always the case". Ryan said the president, members of both parties and top Justice Department officials had lost confidence in Comey, and said "it is entirely within the president's role and authority to relieve him".
No one at the White House had informed him.
"Frankly, he had been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he was elected", said deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Who is brought in now to lead the FBI will be a key indicator of how investigations into sensitive areas like the probe into Russian meddling in the USA election will proceed, the first official said. The reaction was notable given that most Republicans have risen to the president's defense in the past, or at least avoided critical commentary, on issues from the immigration travel ban to Trump's false claims that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower. "There's no ability within the FBI for agents to run a rogue investigation, it's just not possible".