05/09/2017 17:52 EDT | Updated 05/09/2017 20:21 EDT

Democrats once blamed Comey; now they're defending him

WASHINGTON — Starting with Hillary Clinton herself, Democrats have blamed James Comey for her loss to President Donald Trump. And yet when Trump fired the FBI director Tuesday, those same Democrats rushed to defend his job.

Behind the apparent Democratic turnabout: While his pronouncements about his probe into Clinton's handling of emails infuriated them, he's also the man who'd been looking into whether Trump's campaign had colluded with Russians. That left many blasting the firing as an abuse of power, even if as they did not quibble with the reasons the White House put forward as cause.

Clinton campaign aides decried Trump's decision to fire Comey during the FBI's investigation, and top Democratic lawmakers renewed calls for an independent investigation while comparing the situation to the Nixon-era "Saturday night massacre."