Trump asked Comey to end investigation of Michael Flynn
- Author: Leroy Wright May 17, 2017,
May 17, 2017, 23:50
Democrats badgered Republicans to stand up to the president, and demanded access to the transcripts of Trump's meeting last week with two Russian diplomats.
The report cited current and former USA officials, who said the president's disclosures jeopardised a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
Leaving their meeting Wednesday, a number of conservative House Republicans said they and their constituents remained firmly supportive of the president, and they questioned why there are so many leaks coming out that are hurtful to Trump. Granted, one might think he would care when USA interests (and perhaps lives) are on the line, but we've seen no evidence of that; that "officials expressed concern with Trump's handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences" is consistent with everything we've seen from him in the campaign, during the transition and after he took office.
Mr Comey reportedly wrote a memo following a meeting with the president on 14 February that revealed Mr Trump had asked him to close an investigation into Mr Flynn's actions.
"If true, this is yet another disturbing allegation that the president may have engaged in some interference or obstruction of the investigation".
According to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, they saw the memo but were not authorised to discuss it.
The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment on Tuesday on accounts of the memo, which was first reported by The New York Times.
For now, the White House has denied the Times' report in its entirety.
"While the President has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President has never asked Mr Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn", the White House said in a statement.
The Trump White House contacts policy articulates the goal "to ensure that DOJ exercises its investigatory and prosecutorial functions free from the fact or appearance of improper political influence".
White House officials have stressed that the Russian Federation probe had nothing to do with Trump's firing of Comey, although Trump himself has suggested in interviews that it was at least partly a motivation. While the White House initially cited a Justice Department recommendation and Mr. Comey's very public handling of the Clinton email investigation as reasons, those explanations quickly shifted.
Republican senators have also expressed some frustration with questions of credibility now surrounding the White House while simultaneously derailing the GOP agenda and messaging.
Comey was abruptly fired at a time when he was leading an investigation into whether Trump's election campaign had links with Russia's alleged interference in the U.S. polls.
Q: Why did Comey write the memo?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday requesting that it turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and Trump.
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), surrounded by members of the media, leaves after a closed House Republican election meeting to pick the next GOP House Speaker nominee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 8, 2015. "Memos, transcripts, tapes - the list keeps getting longer", he said.
Republicans were more circumspect but also clearly upset.
But the president took to Twitter to insist he had the "absolute right" to share "facts pertaining.to terrorism and airline flight safety" with Russian Federation.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia said he and the majority of House Republicans remain behind the president and his voters "definitely" do. "The source said he's seen the Comey memo and he confirmed the quote to The New York Times specifically, " he told Muir in response. But Comey said he did not say anything to Trump about limiting the investigation, replying simply, "I agree he is a good guy". As an independent actor, Comey might yet have uncovered constitutional issues: entanglement with a foreign power, emolument issues, other problems as yet unforeseen.
The administration spent the first half of Tuesday defending Trump's disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials. "Concerns about our national security, the rule of law, the independence of our nation's highest law enforcement agencies are mounting", he said on the Senate floor.
"Well, whenever there's drama going on over there, it's tougher for the agenda here", the Arizona Republican told reporters.
The newspaper's reports have been backed up by a source familiar with the situation, Associated Press said.
"He's around and the best evidence of what happened in that meeting would be to call him as a witness", said Barbara McQuade, former US attorney for the Eastern District of MI.