Governor Bill Haslam said he watched a couple bits and pieces of former FBI director James Comey's testimony Thursday because he spent the last couple days on a retreat with his staff.
Haslam joined a chorus of people who said the hearings on Capitol Hill are keeping many important issues out of the headlines.
"To me, the big issue, to me, is all of this ends up being such a big distraction," Haslam said. "Forget your politics, which side you are on, Democrat or Republican, the unfortunate reality of this is you have something like this going on around you, you are not very effective at delivering good government."
Haslam said from what he knows now, he does not think President Trump obstructed justice. Former governor Don Sundquist agreed.
"I learned that [President Donald] Trump is not a candidate for prosecution," Sundquist said. "Comey, I think, is distressed over the fact he was fired. He was embarrassed, and a president has the right to name their own person."
Bill Stair, an Inside Tennessee panelist and Democrat, said the testimony raised long-term concerns about President Trump.
"I don't think the president did anything today or said anything that confirmed that would be obstruction of justice." Stair said. "But I think the big story is down the road of what comes out whether there was or wasn't collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians last fall."
Political analysts from both parties expressed support for the special counsel and former FBI chief now looking into Russian influence on the election.
"I think this is indicative of the fact that democracy works," attorney Dennis Francis, a Democrat, added.
No matter what an investigation uncovers, Governor Haslam said he hopes when it's over, it is in, fact over and not revisited again.
"You are hoping that nothing comes out of it," Haslam said. "You know, there's not some continuing issue that plagues the country that we are all wrapped up in."
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