Sen. Susan Collins’ statement in the wake of FBI Director James Comey’s firing is disheartening, dangerous and appalling.

Collins expects us to believe that Comey’s firing was the “inevitable result” of actions he took nearly a year ago. She fails to raise the possibility that the reason for – and the timing of – the firing has something to do with the Russia investigations, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ testimony and the grand jury subpoenas of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s associates.

She ignores that Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who she helped install, who lied under oath about his interactions with Russian leaders and who said he’d recuse himself from Russian investigation-related issues – was the driving force behind the Comey firing.

She has the gall to state that “the president did not fire the entire FBI; he fired the director. I have every confidence that the FBI will continue to pursue its investigation.”

Should we assume that Collins will be supportive of FBI agents who continue the investigation even if the new director orders them to stop? Her belief that firing “just” the director doesn’t somehow jeopardize this investigation suggests that her thinking is entirely divorced from reality – or that she is simply a terrible liar.

Collins must demand that an independent counsel take over this investigation. She has no credibility anymore. Indeed, because of her aggressive push for Jeff Sessions as attorney general and because of her staggeringly inadequate response to the Comey firing, she must be held accountable for helping to install a corrupt, would-be dictatorship.

If Collins doesn’t step aside and let someone without her tremendous conflicts of interest be involved in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, I will spend as much time and money as I can to ensure she never holds any sort of public office in Maine again. I assure you I am not alone in this commitment.

Mark Klimek

Mainers for Accountable Leadership

South Portland