Trump-Comey row: US Congress demands ex-FBI chief's memos

A senior Republican congressman has referred to as on the FBI handy over data of former director James Comey’s contacts with President Donald Trump.

Home Oversight Committee chair Jason Chaffetz demanded that every one correspondence be presented by 24 May.

US media have quoted a memo by Mr Comey that reportedly says Mr Trump requested him to drop an inquiry into hyperlinks between his ex-national safety adviser Michael Flynn and Russia.

The White Home denied the allegation.

“The president has by no means requested Mr Comey or anybody else to finish any investigation, together with any investigation involving Basic Flynn,” it mentioned.

Mr Trump fired Mr Comey final week in a transfer that shocked Washington.

In the meantime Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to launch to Congress data of a White Home assembly between Mr Trump, Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Mr Putin mentioned Mr Trump had handed on no secrets and techniques on the assembly.

Critics have questioned the timing of the assembly, which got here a day after Mr Comey was sacked, and on Tuesday US media quoted officials as saying Mr Trump had handed on categorised info there.

Throughout a White Home assembly with Mr Comey in February, the alleged memo quotes Mr Trump as referring to Mr Flynn and saying: “I hope you possibly can let this go.”

The memo was written instantly after the assembly, a day after Mr Flynn resigned, in line with media studies.

In a letter to acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, Mr Chaffetz mentioned the memo, together with others made by Mr Comey from his conferences with the president, “increase questions as as to whether the president tried to affect or impede the FBI’s investigation”.

He provides that the FBI ought to “present, no later than Could 24, 2017, all memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings referring or referring to any communications between Comey and the president”.

Mr Chaffetz had earlier tweeted that he would drive the FBI to conform if mandatory.

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“@GOPoversight goes to get the Comey memo, if it exists. I have to see it sooner moderately than later. I’ve my subpoena pen prepared,” he mentioned.

Mr Flynn was compelled out in February after he misled the vice-president about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador earlier than Mr Trump took workplace.

The newest Russian twist, first reported by the New York Times, comes every week after Mr Trump fired Mr Comey over his dealing with of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a non-public e-mail server whereas on the state division.

Mr Comey’s dismissal despatched shockwaves by way of Washington, with critics accusing the president of attempting to thwart the FBI investigation into Russia’s alleged interference within the US election and any ties to Trump associates.

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What is the newest allegation?

Mr Comey reportedly wrote a memo following a gathering with the president on 14 February that exposed Mr Trump had requested him to shut an investigation into Mr Flynn’s actions.

He reportedly shared the memo with prime FBI associates.

“I hope you possibly can see your means clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” the president advised Mr Comey, in line with the memo. “He is an effective man.”

Mr Comey didn’t reply to his request, in line with the memo, however replied: “I agree he is an effective man.”

In response to the report, a White Home official identified that Mr McCabe had testified final week that there had been “no effort to impede our investigation thus far”.

The I-word surfaces – Anthony Zurcher, BBC Information, Washington

The “I” phrase – impeachment – has already been broached by politicians as reasonable as impartial Senator Angus King of Maine. If this have been a Democratic-controlled Home of Representatives, articles of impeachment would doubtless be within the drafting course of.

Republicans nonetheless name the photographs in Congress, nonetheless, and it is a important leap to get them to desert the Trump presidency and any hope of advancing their agenda for the foreseeable future.

However some, like Senator John McCain – who mentioned this has develop into a scandal of “Watergate measurement and scale” – are clearly wavering.

The previous Republican presidential nominee is a little bit of a wild card, after all.

For the rank-and-file to activate the president would require them to confess their complicity in a failed presidency.

Congress demands Comey-Trump records

Why was Flynn being investigated?

Mr Flynn’s departure in February got here months after suspicions have been raised amongst intelligence officers.

He resigned as White Home nationwide safety adviser after simply 23 days on the job over revelations that he had mentioned lifting sanctions on Moscow with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, earlier than Mr Trump was sworn in.

It’s unlawful for personal residents to conduct US diplomacy.

Mr Flynn’s Russian ties are underneath investigation by the FBI and the Home and Senate Intelligence Committees, as a part of wider inquiries into claims Moscow sought to tip the election in favour of Mr Trump.

Has Trump obstructed justice?

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Adam Schiff, the best ranked Democrat on the Home Intelligence Committee, mentioned this intervention by Mr Trump, if appropriate, amounted to “interference or obstruction of the investigation”.

The important thing authorized statute is 18 US Code Part 1512, which comprises a broad definition permitting prices to be introduced in opposition to somebody who “obstructs, influences, or impedes any official continuing, or makes an attempt to take action”.

It has been identified that Mr Trump did have the authorized authority to fireside Mr Comey, however there’s a authorized precedent for in any other case lawful acts to be thought of an obstruction of justice if achieved with corrupt intentions, the New York Times says.

Authorized consultants have told the Washington Post that that isn’t clear on this case as intent is troublesome to show.

Nonetheless, former federal prosecutor Samuel Buell advised the Occasions: “The proof of improper function has gotten a lot stronger for the reason that day of Comey’s firing.

“Trump has made admissions about that. And we now have proof that he might have indicated an improper function beforehand in his communications with Comey in regards to the Russia investigation.”


Printed at Wed, 17 Could 2017 12:00:27 +0000