NASHVILLE — Tennessee congressional delegates' reactions to fired FBI Director James Comey's Capitol Hill testimony on Thursday about Russia and President Donald Trump ranged from one Republican calling it a "flop" to a Democrat saying it was "alarming."
During his sworn testimony, Comey said, "it's my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation" into that country's interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Comey added he was "fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me."
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., declared in a statement he was unimpressed, saying the "hearing made clear that Donald Trump has never been under investigation, nor did the President interfere with one.
"The Comey Show is a flop, and Democrats are going to need a new excuse for Hillary Clinton's election loss," the South Pittsburg congressman said. "They should start with Hillary Clinton."
But U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., called Comey's revelations "alarming," with the Nashville congressman later adding, "The American people deserve to know the truth, and I'm glad Robert Mueller is leading the investigation into these matters."
Comey has said that Trump demanded his "loyalty" and pressed him in a face-to-face meeting to "lift the cloud" of his probe by stating publicly the president wasn't a target. The ex-FBI director said he wouldn't do that because he would have a "duty to correct" it publicly if the situation changed.
He also has said he felt pressured by Trump to drop an investigation into ex-Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's potential ties to Russia.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement he is "glad former Director Comey appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee today and [I] appreciate his cooperation as my colleagues on the committee continue their investigation.
"Both the committee and the recently appointed special counsel are doing important work to get to the bottom of Russian interference in our election, and I hope the investigations will be completed in a swift and thorough manner," the Chattanooga senator said.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., called it "important for Mr. Comey to testify in public, and it is important that the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence continue its investigation into Russian interference in our elections."
Alexander said he intends to "review all of the facts when the committee's investigation is complete."
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said, "I still maintain the director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President and that Trump had every right to fire Director Comey.
"What is more important right now is for Robert Mueller to be allowed time to conduct a thorough investigation of Russia's involvement in our elections and for the Senate to act expeditiously to consider President Trump's nominee for FBI director who appears to be qualified, respected and impartial," the Chattanooga congressman added.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said in a statement that Trump "made the right call firing former FBI Director Comey last month — especially after events from this past year put our national security at risk."
The Gallatin lawmaker charged "the hypocrisy from the Democrats proves they will do anything to attack this Administration and undermine its decisions."
The office of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., sent out a statement saying the senator "continues to support the ongoing investigations, of which this hearing was a part, and he is carefully reviewing the facts that emerge as the process continues."
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.