ARCHDALE, N.C. – Senator Richard Burr was in Archdale speaking with students about manufacturing jobs, but he didn’t just have the students’ attention Friday morning.
As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, many people in the nation are looking to him for answers about how the investigation into Russia’s involvement in US elections will continue without former FBI Director James Comey.
“We've made greater progress to date than I had envisioned when I mapped out what I thought we needed to do,” Burr said about the investigation. “Whether that slows up or speeds up, my hope is that it speeds it up.”
Burr on Tuesday called Trump’s firing of Comey troubling.
On Friday morning, he said the president had every right to fire him.
“Clearly, the president lost trust in James Comey,” Burr said.
Burr also said he does not believe the president fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.
“To date, there's been no evidence of collusion so I don't think that there was a need for the president or the White House to make a decision so that lessens my belief that it was to impede an investigation because there wasn't anything threatening as it relates to the evidence today,” Burr said.
Although the investigation may not have impacted Comey, Comey’s firing could change things for the senate committee.
“Could certainly delay the access we need for individuals to be interviewed while we wait for a permanent director of the FBI,” Senator Burr said.
Burr says he’s confident the investigation will continue moving forward once people look past what he says are distractions, that includes some of the tweets Trump posted Friday morning, one of which seemed to threaten Comey.
“It's important that the president realizes that the world demands American leadership,” Burr said. “American leadership starts with the president of the United States. I think he is more than capable to rise to that occasion and I hope that we can get past the controversies of this week, the investigations and that we can focus on how America becomes a global leader again.”
After Comey’s firing, some people are calling for a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation.
Burr says there is no need for that. He says getting an independent team would delay the investigation and they wouldn’t have the kind of access the Senate Intelligence Committee has.
The Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey to meet this Tuesday. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told CNN that Comey denied their invitation.