When the president abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, the timing was “troubling,” multiple Republican lawmakers agreed. So, too, was the president’s tweet threatening to reveal “tapes” of his conversations with Comey. Ditto the president’s reported disclosure of highly classified intelligence to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting.
If Republican lawmakers had seemingly settled on a rote response to Trump’s outrage du jour, however, on Tuesday they faced a new shock: a New York Timesreport detailing an alleged exchange in which Trump urged Comey to close a federal investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump said, according to a memo written by Comey and obtained by the Times.
The story, denied in a statement by the White House, raises further concerns that the president used the power of his office to curtail the FBI’s activities.
“I keep using ‘troubling,’ but troubling is an understatement,” Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters.