‘asked James Comey to shut FBI investigation into Michael Flynn’

rooz ‘asked James Comey to shut FBI investigation into Michael Flynn’ image

Trump ‘asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation’ Democrats claim president obstructed justice White House denies reports of the Trump / Comey meeting Analysis: Comey serves a bombshell of a revenge dish on Trump Israel emerges as source of intelligence Trump shared with Russia Can Donald Trump be impeached over Russia and Comey scandals? Donald Trump, James Comey and ‘this Russia thing’ D onald Trump asked James Comey, the former FBI director, to end an investigation into Michael Flynn’s links to Russia, it was reported on Tuesday night.
“I hope you can let this go,” Mr Trump reportedly told Mr Comey, the day after Mr Flynn, the former national security adviser, had resigned over his undeclared contacts with Moscow.
The New York Times cited a memo that Mr Comey wrote shortly after the meeting with the US president in early February. Mr Trump fired Mr Comey , who was leading the investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, last week.
If confirmed, it would be evidence that the US president had directly tried to influence the FBI investigation.
Calls for impeachment Democrats said such an act would classify as an obstruction of justice and that Mr Trump could face impeachment .
“We are witnessing an obstruction of justice case unfolding in real time,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Judiciary Committee member and former federal prosecutor, said in a statement. He called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate.
Trump: I was thinking about firing Comey on entering White House 00:46 A ccording to two unnamed sources speaking to the newspaper, Mr Comey documented his interactions with Mr Trump because he perceived the US president was improperly attempting to influence the investigation.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr Trump allegedly told Mr Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
A ccording to the report of the memo, all Mr Comey replied was: “I agree he is a good guy.”
The New York Times said that during the Oval Office meeting, Mr Trump condemned a series of government leaks to the news media and said the FBI director should consider prosecuting reporters for publishing classified information.
White House hits back The White House said the report was “not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr Comey” and that Mr Trump never asked his former FBI director to end any investigations involving him.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they wanted to see the memo.
Republican US Representative Jason Chaffetz, chairman of a House of Representatives oversight committee, said his committee “is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists. I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.”
James Comey firing | White House contradictions I n a letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Mr Chaffetz set a deadline of May 24 for the FBI to produce “all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the President.”
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan backed Mr Chaffetz.
“We need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.
Comparisons with Nixon A rmed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said late on Tuesday that the developments had reached “a point where it’s of Watergate size and scale.”
“I think we’ve seen this movie before,” the Arizona Republican said at a dinner to receive the International Republican Institute’s Freedom Award. “The shoes continue to drop, and every couple days there’s a new aspect.”
Legal experts also compared the scandal to Watergate.
“For the president to tell the FBI to end a potential criminal investigation, that’s obstruction of justice,” said Erwin Chereminsky, a constitutional law professor and dean of University of California, Irvine School of Law. “This is what caused President Nixon to resign from office.”
But the experts said intent was a critical element of an obstruction of justice charge, and the president’s words could be subject to interpretation and possibly put into the context of other actions, like Mr Comey’s termination.
Reports come in wake of Russia row The latest bombshell came just as the White House was defending itself over claims Mr Trump revealed classified information to the Russians .
Officials said Mr Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
The president hit back on Twitter, saying he had the “absolute right” to do so for “humanitarian reasons” and because he wants Russia to step up its fight against Isil.
As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017 M r McCabe told the Senate inquiry into Russia’s role in the presidential campaign last week that the White House had not interfered with the FBI’s investigation. There was no statement from the FBI last night.
S everal other US media organisations, including the Washington Post, CNN and the Associated Press, said they had confirmed the existence of the Comey memo.
Notes from an FBI agent are generally viewed in court as credible evidence of conversations.
6:16AM Escaping domestic problems M r Trump is set to embark this week on his first foreign trip, a nine-day trek to the Middle East and Europe.
One Republican strategist close to the White House says the president needs a strong trip to help put the past tumultuous 10 days behind him.
“If the White House is looking for this international trip to turn the page, then it really needs to come off well without any balls dropped or serious mistakes,” the strategist told Reuters.
“This is their time to shine, to show Americans and the world that the White House isn’t becoming a circus of errors.”
5:11AM Republicans caught on the backfoot R epublicans are not about to abandon their president, with several coming to his defence.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a senior lawmaker, said:
“There isn’t anybody who can run the White House without criticism. This man has been subject to more criticism than any predecessor that I know of. They hate him, they didn’t like the fact that he won, he beat their favourite, it was a remarkable election.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded tersely “no” when pressed on whether he had concerns about the president’s ability to handle classified information, or whether he was losing confidence in Trump.
But McConnell acknowledged that “it would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House.”
Yet as the House came back into session Tuesday night some Republicans from conservative districts said their constituents were not overly concerned with any aspect of the Russia story.
Addressing the Comey memo, GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas said:
“If Comey felt like the president was trying to obstruct justice, Comey would have been duty-bound to report it to the DOJ and act on it. And we’re not hearing that happened. I think this is another example of whatever Trump does gets the worst possible spin.”
4:37AM Trump camp hits back at ‘sabotage’ A n emailed fundraising appeal by Trump’s political organisation and the Republican National Committee sent out after reports of the Comey memo said Mr Trump was being victimised by an “unelected bureaucracy.”
“You already knew the media was out to get us. But sadly it’s not just the fake news. There are people within our own unelected bureaucracy that want to sabotage President Trump and our entire ‘America First’ movement.”
4:26AM ‘Are you tired of winning?’ T he series of controversies appear to be taking their toll on staff at the White House. A reporter for Politco says he talked to a Trump aide, who is “exhausted beyond belief.”
At end of call, Trump aide told me tonight he was “exhausted beyond belief.” I responded: “Are you tired of winning?” He laughed & hung up.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) May 17, 2017 3:52AM McCain likens Comey claims to Watergate S en. John McCain says the latest revelations out of the Trump White House are “at a point where it’s of Watergate size and scale.”
The Arizona Republican says, “We’ve seen this movie before.” He spoke Tuesday night at a dinner where he was receiving the International Republican Institute’s Freedom Award.
“The shoes continue to drop, and every couple days there’s a new aspect,” McCain said in comments reported by the Daily Beast.
McCain says Trump needs to “get it all out … and the longer you delay, the longer it’s going to last.”
McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, also calls it “unacceptable” for Trump to invite Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov into the Oval Office last week, calling him a “stooge.” Trump disclosed classified information in that meeting.
3:06AM Is this obstruction of justice? A P has spoken to legal experts to get their opinion on where Mr Trump stands in terms of the law.
Criminally speaking, obstructing justice applies to a variety of scenarios – like threatening a juror, retaliating against a witness, or impeding a grand jury proceeding – and Mr Trump’s alleged request would not fit neatly into any of them, legal experts said.
“No one would write a federal statute with this situation in mind because it’s such an extraordinary situation,” said Jens David Ohlin, a dean at Cornell University Law School.
Meddling in a federal investigation could qualify as impeding a judicial proceeding under the obstruction statute. But to bring an obstruction charge, a prosecutor would have to show the president was trying to “corruptly” influence the investigation, and proving an improper intent can be hard.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said Mr Trump would have some lines of defence.
“The president can claim he was raising an issue of concern for a longtime associate. That doesn’t mean that the question was not wildly improper, and frankly, would border on the moronic.”
3:02AM James Comey’s firing H ere’s a quick recap over how the White House’s story changed regarding the sacking of James Comey.
James Comey firing | White House contradictions 2:58AM ‘We are becoming a joke’ M ichael McFaul, the former US envoy to Russia, has some strong words for the current controversy facing the White House.
More collateral damage from Trump’s missteps. We are becoming a joke. As a proud, patriotic American, this is hard to watch. https://t.co/IsJWAGqqPP
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) May 17, 2017 2:56AM Paul Ryan backs request for Comey-Trump documents R epublican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has backed Chaffetz after the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee requested the FBI turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between former Mr Comey and Mr Trump.
“We need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.
In the letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe , Chaffetz set a deadline of May 24 for the FBI to produce “all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the President.”
. @GOPoversight is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists. I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 16, 2017 2:27AM Can Donald Trump be impeached over the Russia and Comey scandals? A llegations that Donald Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation into Michael Flynn’s links to Russia have spurred calls for the president to be impeached.
The explosive new development, stemming from a memo written by Mr Comey, followed a week of tumult at the White House after Mr Trump fired the FBI director and then discussed sensitive national security information about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
E ven before the latest bombshell had hit the White House, at least two congressional Democrats had demanded the president be impeached, but Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi had pushed back against those isolated calls.
However, the clamour grew in the wake of the latest claims. David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s former senior advisor, tweeted: “I’ve been resistant to impeachment talk until now, but if Comey memo is true-and Comey is very credible-we are into a whole new deal here.”
Read the full article .
2:22AM House chairman seeks Comey-Trump documents T he Republican chairman of the House oversight committee is requesting that the FBI turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between former Mr Comey and Mr Trump.
Jason Chaffetz said in a letter to the FBI that he was making the request to determine whether the president attempted to influence or impede the bureau’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Mr Chaffetz’s letter comes just hours after the disclosure that Comey drafted a memo that detailed how Trump had asked him to shut down the Flynn investigation. Chaffetz’s letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe requests all memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings that relate to any communications between Comey and the president.
The letter gives the FBI a week to produce the records.
1:31AM Analysis: Comey serves a bombshell of a revenge dish on Trump N ick Allen writes:
President Donald Trump must have thought it could not get any worse, but then it did. James Comey, the FBI Director he fired, waited just a week to serve a bombshell of a revenge dish.
Unlike other scandals this one has potential legal implications for Mr Trump and, as he watched the nightly cable news shows, he will have been appalled to hear the word “impeachment” being bandied around, and experts discussing whether he had committed obstruction of justice.
At the centre of the row over Mr Comey’s sacking was a dinner the two men had at the White House in February. Mr Comey, as any member of the FBI might, made a contemporaneous note, known in bureau circles as a “memorandum for the record”.
Ultimately, what Mr Trump said to him may be down to interpretation but Mr Comey appears to be in no doubt. He recorded Mr Trump’s words in relation to the Michael Flynn investigation as “I hope you let this go”.
While Democrats declared the Comey memo a “smoking gun” a key question now is whether senior Republicans stand behind Mr Trump, or drift away.
The initial signs for Mr Trump were not good with few Republicans stepping forward to defend him.
Read the full story .
1:04AM Joaquín Castro, a Democratic representative: ‘If it in fact is true, then yes, that is an impeachable offence’ Rep. Castro on reports: “If it in fact is true, then yes, that is an impeachable offense” https://t.co/c43kDFj5F5 https://t.co/isdiwQwLW8
— CNN (@CNN) May 16, 2017
12:50AM Bernie Sanders speaks out Now more than ever we need Republican members of Congress to work with us in demanding that Trump be held accountable for his actions.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 16, 2017
12:24AM Impeachment ‘on the table’ A ngus King, an independent senator from Maine, said he now “reluctantly” believed that impeachment was on the table for Mr Trump.
. @wolfblitzer : Could we be moving toward an impeachment process?
Sen. King: “Reluctantly, Wolf, I have to say yes” https://t.co/IVLrF5M12g
— CNN (@CNN) May 16, 2017
11:56PM Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader: ‘History is watching’ Senator Schumer: “The country is being tested in unprecedented ways. I say to all of my colleagues in the senate: history is watching.” pic.twitter.com/LLSlnPcuv8
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 16, 2017
11:43PM Trump ‘blames communications team’ M r Trump is reportedly laying a lot of the blame for his tumultuous week with his communications team, ABC reports.
Mr Trump held angry meetings with Sean Spicer, his press secretary, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy press secretary, earlier this week and told them their jobs were on the line, ABC reported .
It was also reported that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, was “done with all of them and has been saying it in meetings, maybe saying it too much, but they all know he’s not their No. 1 fan”.