A small but growing number of Republican US lawmakers have called for an independent probe of possible collusion between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation, spurred by a memo from the fired FBI chief that Trump had sought to impede the agency's investigation. Then another political bombshell exploded Tuesday night.
Trump's alleged conversation with Comey emerged in an internal memo the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director wrote after the fact, multiple sources with first hand knowledge of the memo told NBC News Tuesday.
"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.
President Trump removed Comey from his position last Tuesday at the recommendation of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein.
No one from the administration would respond to the memo on the record.
Comments such as these, emerging in the way they did, only remind us that every day public servants are reaching out to reporters to ensure the public is aware of the risks today to rule of law in this country.
October 28, 2016: Days before the election, Comey informs Congress by letter that he is reopening the investigation into Clinton's email practices based on new evidence, citing the discovery of emails on a laptop used by a top Clinton aide.
"I hope director Comey will come before Congress, under oath", House Republican Tom Cole said of Comey. "He's a good guy". Numbers four and eight are particularly relevant to this moment in history, some forty-three years later, though others may soon be as well: "interfering or endeavouring to interfere" with FBI, Department of Justice, and congressional investigations; and "making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the objective of deceiving the people of the United States".
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said he was prepared to use a subpoena if necessary to get a copy of the Comey memo that has been described. CNN confirmed the details of that memo. The yen jumped 0.6 percent to 112.41 per dollar in early trading in Tokyo.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.54%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.52%, and Nasdaq futures slid 0.57%.
The stunning reports - denied by the White House - deepened the political turmoil engulfing Trump's White House and intensified concerns among investors about the president's ability to push through his big economic plans. But given the bombshell news events since Ryan last went before the Washington press corps almost two weeks ago, the questions did not focus on the major legislative effort he's trying to pursue. Comey's notes also made it clear he felt that the conversation with the president was improper and chose to withhold details of it from the case agents working on the Russian Federation probe, according to the associates.
Democrats were far less sparing in their criticism.
"If there were ever a final nail on the case for an independent prosecutor, this is it", Blumenthal said at the Capitol. "There are other memos".
But the possible existence of a trove of Comey memos may be the real story here.
Along with Russian Federation and Comey-related inquires, Ryan could also face questions about the health care bill, which is now making its way through the Senate.
Bloomberg's Anna Edgerton, Laura Litvan, Margaret Talev, Justin Sink, Terrence Dopp and Billy House contributed.
"If true, this is yet another disturbing allegation that the president may have engaged in some interference or obstruction of the investigation, " said Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Not surprising, within minutes of the New York Times report, the response was a chorus of breathless "gotcha" announcements.
Kushner has led daily morning meetings to discuss the trip's agenda and objectives, according to a senior administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Kislyak was with Lavrov at the White House when Trump disclosed the sensitive information.
Congress answered that call four decades ago, and the republic survived.
But the White House has provided differing accounts of the firing. Those allegations are already very much in the news thanks to Trump firing Comey - the man leading an investigation into his campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation - last week. At that point, the White House would basically have to argue that Comey created a fictitious paper trail without a clear motivation. Finally, there was Trump's own admission, to NBC's Lester Holt, that "regardless of recommendation", he was going to sack Comey, a contradiction of his own letter.
February 14, 2017: Comey speaks with Trump in the Oval Office a day after Flynn is ousted.
Friday: "He threatened Comey with "secret tapes" of their conversations".
On Tuesday, for the second night in a row, Senate Republicans and Democrats were caught off-guard as they entered the chamber for a scheduled vote. As FBI director, he was accustomed to hours-long oversight hearings before Congress covering a wide range of topics. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters. NSA leakers plan to release more hacking tools House passes cyber crime bill MORE (D-Calif.), the top members on the committee, and Sens. If Trump was trying to get Comey to go easy on Flynn, it's only because Flynn has damning information on him.
U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Wednesday after the reports of the memo.
Warner would not say if Comey had accepted the committee's invitation - sent Wednesday - but said he was confident Comey will appear. He was re-elected that November over his main contender, Democratic Sen.
On its face, the statement does not amount to obstruction of justice.
Nixon released the tapes, including the so-called smoking gun, which showed he tried to use the Central Intelligence Agency to block the FBI investigation of the burglary.