Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Senate GOP leader plays down latest Trump controversy

And then, the next day, The New York Times reported new allegations that Trump asked James Comey, whom he later sacked as director of the FBI, to close the investigation into contacts between the president's then national security adviser, Mike Flynn, and Russian Federation. And legal experts say it could be hard to prove the president crossed a line.

The extraordinary leak of Trump's private conversations in the Oval Office appeared to be a direct effect of the president's combative relationship with the US spy agencies.

"So the committee can consider that question and others, provide, no later than May 24, 2017, all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring to or relating to any communications between Comey and the president". "If there's tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over".

On Tuesday, Chaffetz said he had his "subpoena pen ready" if legal action is necessary to force the release of Comey's memos.

The House has not yet come back into session for the week, but a spokesman for Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Monday that, "We have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation's secrets is paramount".

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin threw his weight behind Chaffetz's request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation correspondence.

King said Congress needs to gather all the facts before drawing conclusions.

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Comey's memo, an apparent effort to create a paper trail of his contacts with the White House, would be the clearest evidence to date that the president has tried to influence the investigation. No president has been removed from office using that. At worst, he has obstructed justice.

In a later tweet, Donald Trump Jr. took issue with a National Public Radio editor who suggested on Twitter that his earlier tweet was confirmation that his father did ask Comey to cut Flynn some slack.

The current U.S. president is a very immature political leader who is playing into his enemies' hands by his impulsive decisions, Becker said, adding that Trump never trusted Comey because he saw him as an independent operator with his own agenda.

"The President has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations". Aides later said the president had been considering firing Comey for months, and Trump said he would have made the decision regardless of the Justice Department recommendation. Comey said he replied that "I agree he is a good guy" but said nothing to Trump about limiting the investigation.

In the CNN interview, King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he has not seen the Comey memo and emphasized that it has yet to be authenticated.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said Trump would have some lines of defense. Trump told reporters that "we could make a fast decision" because "almost all of them are very well known". "It hasn't recovered from that".

The report cited current and former U.S. officials, who said the president's disclosures jeopardised a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

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