Trump Asked FBI's Comey to Drop Flynn Inquiry

Olive Rios
May 20, 2017

An associate of Comey's who is familiar with the matter confirms that the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director memorialized the conversation with Trump in a memo he wrote immediately after their Oval Office conversation on February 14.

Ignorance, bad judgment, naiveté and gross inexperience likely prompted President Trump to reveal highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week in a White House meeting.

John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said late on Tuesday that the developments had reached "Watergate size and scale". "Our job is to be responsible, sober and focus only on gathering the facts". Chaffetz was among Republican congressmen assigned to the Benghazi select committee investigating the deaths of four Americans during a 2012 terrorist attack in Libya.

Sen. John McCain has long called for a select committee to investigate Russian Federation, but the Arizona Republican does not back a special prosecutor.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) have all said Trump's attempt to quash the Flynn investigation may constitute an impeachable offense.

Speaker Paul Ryan signaled the changed mood earlier in the day not by what he said but by what he didn't.

An impeachment by the House is a step toward removing a president, but that alone can not force him to step down.

Tillerson said other governments were especially looking for greater USA leadership in the war on terrorism.

The charitable explanation is that the committee just want to be super-duper-thorough; the less charitable explanation is that even though they now feel obliged to investigate Comey's allegations against the sitting president, Republicans are still hoping they can somehow muddy the waters with a much broader, much slower investigation. "In order to gain the credibility, it may be that we need to look to an independent commission or special prosecutor". After the news broke of the Comey memo, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stood in the chamber and said, "I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate - history is watching".

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, said: "It would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House".

Serving as an early-warning sign for potential damage to the party is Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who saw his South Florida congressional district vote for Hillary Clinton by 16 percentage points a year ago - the most for any GOP lawmaker seeking reelection in 2018.

But one of the puzzles of American politics today is that Americans seem to be getting two different sets of news and two different sets of facts - first, from the mainstream press, and second, from a relatively self-contained conservative media which basically reports what it wants to report. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said he had scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday, May 24 with Comey.

Mr Flynn was Mr Trump's first national security adviser, but was sacked after misleading the government over his meetings with Mr Kislyak - he apparently offered to reduce sanctions on Russian Federation before he was appointed, but it is illegal for private citizens to conduct U.S. diplomacy. But the White House has provided differing accounts of the firing.

This includes the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing a lawful investigation into possible campaign ties to Russian influence. "This man has been subject to more criticism than any predecessor that I know of".

The New York Times first, then The Washington Post and other outlets have reported that Trump had asked Comey in a February meeting not to pursue the Flynn probe and instead go after journalists in leak cases. "He is a good guy".

The official said aides are seeking to avoid a repeat of the critical coverage of White House statements in recent days. When that ended, Trump asked everyone to leave except Comey, and he eventually turned the conversation to Flynn. On Tuesday the outlet said the staffer revised his comment to: "I guess I was wrong about the timing..." He used that phrase nine times in his briefing to reporters.

He's been relying on the likes of national security adviser General HR McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and embattled press secretary Sean Spicer to do the talking.

A US official who confirmed the disclosure to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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