Sen. John McCainJohn McCainPoliticians absent from Thompson Reuters brunch McCain downplays threat of pre-emptive strike against North Korea McCain plan gains momentum amid North Korea threats MORE (R-Ariz.) praised FBI Director James Comey for his "integrity" and commended him for his commitment to standing on principle in the face of bipartisan criticism.
McCain, profiling Comey for Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" issue, wrote that integrity isn't a word frequently used in Washington.
"But that is the quality that has defined James Comey's service to our nation," McCain wrote.
McCain went on to commend Comey for the integrity he showed during what McCain called one of the "most extraordinary elections in our history."
Republicans criticized Comey during the presidential election for not pursuing charges against Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonBiden: ‘Guys, I’m not running’ Trump says email hacking during election 'could've been China' or other groups Maxine Waters: ‘I’ve never seen anybody as disgusting or as disrespectful’ as Trump MORE over her use of a private email server while secretary of State, while Democrats slammed Comey for a last-minute disclosure about the email investigation even as he stayed silent on the FBI investigation into potential ties between President Trump's campaign and Russia.
Comey "followed the law, spoke the truth and did what he believed was right," McCain said of his behavior during the campaign.
"Shifting political winds have blown criticism James Comey's way from different partisan directions," McCain said.
"But his independence has never faltered. His integrity has never wavered. And I know that in the pursuit of justice, it never will."
Trump said earlier this month that he would not request Comey's resignation, even as the FBI is investigating Russian election interference. But Trump wouldn't rule out asking for the resignation at a later date.
“No, it’s not too late,” Trump said Wednesday on Fox Business when asked about seeking Comey’s resignation.
“I want to give everybody a good, fair chance. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting.”