Trump vs. Comey: Who will America trust?

Flynn had made a phone call in late December to the Russian Ambassador Sergey I Kislya, soon after the Obama administration had imposed new sanctions on Russia for interfering with the U.S. elections. The foreign minister was accompanied by Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, whose undisclosed contacts with Gen. Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions caused serious trouble for both.

Devastating news for Donald Trump continued to accumulate on Tuesday night, as reports emerged of a memorandum indicating that Trump had pressured former FBI director James Comey to give up part of a multi-pronged investigation into alleged ties between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign.

A memo that Comey wrote after the meeting, which became public May 16, says Trump asked him to shut down the FBI investigation into Flynn and his Russian Federation ties. "Regrettably", he declared, "the time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians was time he did not spend focusing on Russia's aggressive behavior, including its interference in American and European elections, its illegal invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, its other destabilizing activities across Europe, and the slaughter of innocent civilians and targeting of hospitals in Syria".

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, said simply: "It would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House".

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 Comey's termination. Trump is said to not be looking forward to the trip. "If people wanted the Comey situation to go away, he did nothing to help that happen".

Gergen wasn't the only moderate voice to suggest Tuesday that a plausible case for Trump's removal was emerging.

While espionage stories and staff chaos have dominated coverage of the White House in recent weeks, Trump faces a more constant, background hazard of failing to deliver on domestic promises such as healthcare reform.

According to sources, the request was documented in a memo written by Comey that quoted Trump as saying: "I hope you can let this go".

Why it matters: It's the biggest bombshell yet regarding Trump's flouting of presidential norms - in this case, allegedly attempting to use the power of the presidency to interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation.




The news provoked backlash from members of Congress, who renewed calls for Comey to testify on Capitol Hill.

Trump later admitted in a television interview about Comey's firing that he was bothered by "this Russian Federation thing" and said he would have fired Comey regardless of the Justice Department recommendation.

The reports raised questions over whether obstruction of justice charges could be laid against Trump, weakening confidence in the USA president's ability to push through an aggressive stimulus program that investors had been banking on since his election in November. In other words, Comey, an experienced political operator in the national security bureaucracy, was preparing a dossier to be used against Trump in the event that he moved against Comey-as he did May 9, firing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director summarily.

Said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: "He's probably glad to leave town, and a lot of us are glad he's leaving for a few days". But the swirling questions about his conduct were clearly on his mind when he told graduates at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in CT that "no politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly". Officials are anxious that Mr Trump's lack of focus and attention to detail could cause problems as he visits Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Israel and the West Bank, the pope at the Vatican, NATO leaders in Brussels and G7 counterparts in Sicily.

But Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich said in a CNN town hall event Tuesday that needs to change.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, in a statement issued through a spokesman, said, "We have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation's secrets is paramount". I guess that's why we won.

A Comey hearing would instantly become one of the most significant congressional appearances of modern times.

March 20, 2017: Comey testifies to Congress that the FBI has been investigating possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials since July, the same month he held an unusual news conference to discuss the investigation into Clinton.

After all, a Comey memo could approach "smoking gun" significance if it appears to prove that the President could conceivably be accused of obstructing justice - potentially grounds for impeachment.

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