Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said Wednesday he does not think mismanagement of the Hillary Clinton email scandal was "sufficient rationale" for President Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey.
Trump fired Comey on Tuesday following a recommendation earlier in the day from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who told the president that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended the dismissal. Rosenstein wrote in a letter that he "cannot defend the director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails."
CNN reporter Manu Raju caught up with McCain the day after the bombshell development and asked the senator for his reaction, noting that it occurred as the FBI is investigating alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he has yet to see a "good explanation" to justify Comey's firing, saying he is less concerned about the timing of the dismissal than the lack of substantive reasoning for ordering it.
"I think they've been investigating the Trump campaign's connections with Russia for a long time. I just think that it obviously was not done in an efficient fashion," McCain said. "But when you fire probably, arguably the most respected person in America, you better have a very good explanation, and so far I haven't seen that."
Raju pressed McCain.
"You don't buy the Clinton email explanation that he mishandled the Clinton emails, that's why he was fired?" he asked
"I don't believe that that is sufficient rationale for removing the director of the FBI," McCain responded. "And I regret that it's happened."
"We have a lot of issues and challenges, and this just diverts a lot of that attention."