Several Democratic lawmakers reacted to President Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey with horror Tuesday and said the country was on the verge of, or inside, a constitutional crisis.
Sen. Ed Markey was the first to imply the country is in peril following Trump's decision to fire Comey. The Massachusetts Democrat said Trump set a terrible precedent given the number of investigations into the 2016 presidential campaign and his team's possible connections to the Russian government.
"This episode is disturbingly reminiscent of the Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate scandal and the national turmoil that it caused," Markey said. "We are careening ever closer to a constitutional crisis, and this development only underscores why we must appoint a special prosecutor to fully investigate any dealings the Trump campaign or administration had with Russia."
Trump made the surprise move Tuesday evening, shocking many in Washington.
Even lawmakers who have been around for decades were taken aback by Trump's actions. Rep. John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is the dean of the House, echoed Markey in saying that he saw echoes of President Nixon's dismissal of top officials in 1973 in Trump's maneuver.
"There is little doubt that the president's actions harken our nation back to Watergate and the 'Saturday Night Massacre,'" Conyers said. "This decision makes it clear that we must have an independent, non-partisan commission to investigate both Russian interference in the U.S. election and allegations of collusion between the government of Vladimir Putin and the Trump campaign.
"Today's action by President Trump completely obliterates any semblance of an independent investigation into Russian efforts to influence our election and places our nation on the verge of a constitutional crisis."
We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 9, 2017
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz was much more forward and to the point his declaration that the country is now in crisis.
"We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis," he said.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said the timeline was clear that Trump is trying to avoid heat from the investigation into Trump's possible Russian connections.
"We are witnessing a constitutional crisis unfold before our very eyes," he said. "On March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed under oath that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for its involvement with Russian officials to influence our election. Today, President Trump fired him."
He said the next director of the bureau "will not have the independence or confidence of the American people to continue this investigation" and called for a special prosecutor.