Merkley, Wyden: ‘Nobody’s above the law’

Oregon's US senators at the forefront of the Trump-Russia investigation

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, May 17, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s U.S. senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have been pushing for a special counsel to oversee the investigation into any possible connection between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Wednesday, the Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead that probe.

Merkley, who told KOIN 6 News he thinks the country is on the brink of a constitutional crisis, called Mueller’s appointment “a victory for all Americans who believe in the integrity of the rule of law.”

“If the facts come out that the president did obstruct justice, then the House (of Representatives) needs to act,” Merkley said Wednesday. “We have to get to the bottom of this. Everyone in our world of justice needs to be held accountable to the law. Nobody’s above the law.”

In this May 3, 2017, file photo, FBI Director James Comey listens on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Wyden and other lawmakers are now clamoring for the release of any notes and recordings of private conversations that now-fired FBI Director James Comey may have kept of his interaction with President Trump.

“I’ve made it very clear,” Wyden said, “that because I’m Oregon’s guy on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we’re going to stay on this. This isn’t going to be swept under the rug.”

Both senators are looking for any evidence President Trump tried to shut down an FBI investigation into possible ties with Russia.

Merkley noted there is not currently a full set of facts. “We have a story unfolding with a lot of pieces that starts to look extraordinarily suspicious.”

“I’ve also put a strong focus on what I call ‘Follow the Money’ issues,” Wyden told KOIN 6 News. That’s not about the president investing in Russia, he said, but Russia investing in areas the president could have an interest.

“Documents that related to possible money laundering, documents that relate to possibly establishing shell corporations, potential property transfers,” Wyden said. “These are the kinds of documents that I believe we ought to have.”

Trump’s response

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump waves as he walks off Air Force One at Groton-New London Airport in Groton, Conn., Wednesday, May 17, 2017.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump says a thorough investigation will confirm what he says is already known: that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and any foreign entity.

Trump commented late Wednesday after the Justice Department announced the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee the probe into Trump-Russian connection in the 2016 election.

Trump says in a written statement that he looks forward to “this matter concluding quickly.”

He also pledges to never stop fighting for the people and issues that are important to the country’s future.

Trump last week fired James Comey from his post as FBI director, explaining that it was partly because of the Russia investigation.

Walden’s response

Oregon’s lone Republican in Congress, Rep. Greg Walden, said in a statement:

“Whatever people think about Director Comey’s removal by the President, the critical point for me going forward is to ensure that the FBI is empowered to continue to do their important work without political interference.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.