Capitol & State

Idaho’s Simpson: I’d believe Comey over Trump; fired FBI director ‘has the credibility’

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, speaking Monday at the Idaho Healthcare Summit at the Boise Centre.
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, speaking Monday at the Idaho Healthcare Summit at the Boise Centre. Post Register

Rep. Mike Simpson, Idaho’s senior congressman, told reporters in Washington Wednesday he’d believe fired FBI Director James Comey over President Donald Trump and said he was concerned that Republicans weren’t getting ahead of a potential crisis similar to Watergate.

““What I’m worried about is, in the early 1970s, politicians like me were standing around saying, ‘Nixon’s okay, he didn’t do anything,’ and look what it led to,” Simpson said in remarks reported by the Washington Post. “And every day there is something that adds on to it.”

Simpson also said he wanted an independent commission taking over the investigation of possible ties between Trump and Russian interests. He said Comey should testify before Congress as soon as possible and “has the credibility,” especially if he’s left a paper trail.

The New York Times this week reported that Comey wrote a memo about a February meeting in the Oval Office where the president asked him to shut down the federal investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“If he’s written this down in memos and so forth, maybe told his chief of staff about it when he wrote it down and stuff, that’s pretty damaging,” Simpson said.

Simpson, serving his tenth term representing Idaho’s 2nd District, has been a consistent supporter of the House Republican leadership and a reliable backer of the caucus agenda – he voted, despite misgivings, for the House Republican health care reform package. But he has been critical of Trump and did not back him for president.

In the Post interview, he demurred on other questions related to the Trump-Russia-Comey saga. Asked about possible impeachable offenses, he said, “I don’t want to go there. I don’t know yet.”

Bill Dentzer: 208-377-6438, @DentzerNews