CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline” the Trump administration could help with the investigation into alleged Russian ties by “calming down.”

“The quicker they can calm down and quit responding to every little thing that’s said then this thing would have a direction, it would have a purpose, it would have a transparency and be looked into and be settled one way or another, but man they keep throwing gasoline on the fire every hour of every day,” Manchin said.

Bob Mueller, the former FBI director, is now serving as special counsel for the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into Russia.

In a briefing with all U.S. senators Thursday, Rod Rosenstein, deputy U.S. attorney general, reportedly said Mueller would be given “wide leeway” to run the investigation.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump characterized the investigation as “a witch hunt.” “There’s no collusion between, certainly, myself and my campaign — but I can only speak for myself — and the Russians — zero,” he said.

Separate Congressional investigations are underway, including within the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.

“That committee, to a T, Democrats and Republicans, are not going to allow a witch hunt to happen. It’s going to go wherever the intelligence (goes),” said Manchin who sits on that committee.

“I truly and, most every one of those members, truly respect respect and admire the intelligence community we have in this country and also our allies who give us information that helps us protect ourselves and keep ourselves safe.”

Meanwhile, Manchin said, the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation should ideally come with no political ties. On Thursday, President Trump indicated he was “very close” to naming a replacement for James Comey.  Joe Lieberman, a former U.S. Senator from Connecticut and vice presidential candidate, was reportedly on the short list of potential FBI nominees.

Despite his call for a non-political choice, “If the president appoints and recommends to us Joe Lieberman, I’m going to tell you one thing, Joe Manchin’s going to vote for Joe Lieberman. This is a good man,” Manchin said.

Lieberman was Democrat Al Gore’s vice presidential nominee in 2000. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. In 2006, he changed his party affiliation to independent after losing in the Democratic Senate primary.

Lieberman did not run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

His resume includes time as Connecticut’s attorney general, which Manchin cited when asked about his law enforcement experience.

He said Leiberman would “do an honorable job and protect America.”

On Friday, President Trump began his first foreign trip in that role. Over nine days, he’ll travel to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium, Italy and the Vatican.

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