Democrats want any Russia investigation kept clear of Trump's 'heavy hand'
Republican majority leader says additional scrutiny would only impede existing probes
The U.S. Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, does not support any additional investigation into whether Russia influenced the 2016 U.S. election, saying as he opened the Senate Wednesday that it would "impede" probes already under way.
But the chamber's Democratic minority leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, reiterated his calls for a special counsel to look into the matter. Schumer said the need was more urgent after Republican President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey on Tuesday.
"'If there is ever a time … it is right now."
Schumer said Comey's firing "establishes a very troubling pattern," and any investigation needs to be "far away from the heavy hand" of Trump's administration.
However, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee said there's no need for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's ties to the Trump campaign after Comey's firing.
Republican Richard Burr said his committee has the jurisdiction and responsibility to continue its Russia investigation and "we are going to do that."
Burr reiterated questions about the FBI director's firing.
"The timing of this and the reasoning for it doesn't make sense to me."
Burr said that the firing "made our task a little more difficult, but it didn't make it impossible so we'll continue."
Burr said he spoke to Trump but wouldn't detail the exchange. He said they didn't discuss his committee's investigation
With files from CBC News and The Associated Press