POLITICS
05/14/2017 01:10 pm ET

Jeffrey Toobin Defends His Visceral Response To Trump Firing Comey

"I try to be more analytical than polemical ... but I also have to be honest."

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is standing by the strong condemnation he had last week for President Donald Trump firing FBI director James Comey.

“I try to be more analytical than polemical ... but I also have to be honest,” he told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter on Sunday when asked to respond to criticism that his reaction to Comey’s dismissal was too extreme.

While Comey’s dismissal last Tuesday caught broadcasters off guard and left many dumbstruck or scrambling to figure out what had just happened, Toobin did not mince words and quickly slammed the president’s actions.

“It is a grotesque abuse of power by the president of the United States,” Toobin said Tuesday on CNN. “This is the kind of thing that goes on in non-democracies. That when there is an investigation that reaches near the president of the United States or the leader of a non-democracy, they fire the people who are in charge of the investigation.”

Trump firing the director of the agency investigating ties between the president’s campaign and Russia, he continued, harks back to former president Richard Nixon firing Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973. 

Toobin is not backing down from that comparison, he said Sunday.

“It’s the same thing that Trump was doing by firing Comey, as he more or less admitted to [NBC host] Lester Holt,” he told Stelter. “So I stand by everything I say. It’s not the way I usually express myself, but I think I was right.”

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