US Senate panel demands Comey's memos and Trump's tapes as controversy escalates
- Author: Salvatore Jensen May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 6:21
Our request, submitted to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, comes after The New York Times broke the story that Comey had memorialized his meetings with Trump, including one that took place in February, the day after Flynn was forced to resign amidst revelations he had lied about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
He injected a note of mockery into remarks that appeared aimed to suggest no sensitive information was exchanged during the meeting between Trump and Lavrov, quipping that his longtime foreign minister had failed to pass on any secrets. Trump told The Associated Press by telephone after the meeting that he "learned a lot" but declined to say whether he accepted their conclusion about Russian Federation.
U.S. President Donald Trump's sharing of highly classified intelligence with Russian Federation could cause a problem with efforts to seek cooperation from allies in dealing with North Korea, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.
Some experts argue that divulging material that is so highly classified that the United States intelligence community had not even divulged it to allies, let alone an adversary power such as Russian Federation, could constitute a violation of the presidential oath of office.
The memos and testimony could prove explosive, given reports that Trump asked Comey to quash an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn shortly after Flynn was forced to resign.
On the other side of the partisan divide, a small but growing number of Democrats are speaking openly about impeachment, arguing that Trump obstructed justice when he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to "go easy" in its probe of Flynn's ties to Russian Federation. In the messages, Comey reportedly acknowledged that he approved most of the Office of Legal Counsel opinions authorizing the techniques, but he said he'd urged then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to advise the White House to abandon the harshest methods.
Hours after a news report that President Trump had asked the FBI director to back away from an investigation, Democrats seized on the information to accuse the White House of a serious crime.
Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. An official pointed out that the acting FBI director last week testified that there had been no effort to impede the investigation.
Afterward, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, White House spokesman Sean Spicer brushed aside questions about the congressional inquiries. He said he would give the Federal Bureau of Investigation a week and then "if we need a subpoena, we'll do it". "But when you add them all up, you have a very plausible obstruction of justice case, I think".
Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, said they have asked Comey to testify before the panel in both open and closed sessions. Flynn is one of the subjects of the FBI investigation. Comey said he replied that "I agree he is a good guy" but said nothing to Trump about limiting the investigation.
Critics said the president was guilty of obstruction of justice.