Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Trump asked Comey to end investigation of Michael Flynn

The poll was conducted following Trump's controversial firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, but before Trump's more recent alleged disclosure of highly classified information to Russian diplomats.

He added: "But whether the President's conduct is or is not within the letter of the law is irrelevant; there's a really good reason why, for generations, presidents from across the ideological spectrum have respected the principle of not interfering in federal criminal investigations".

USA officials said Trump discussed intelligence about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at last Wednesday's meeting.

US President Donald Trump had asked sacked FBI director James Comey to end the agency's investigation into ties between his former national security adviser Mike Flynn and Russian Federation, according to a media report.

Comey wrote some notes after a February meeting with Trump, where he stated that the president brought up counterintelligence investigation into Flynn and urged Comey to drop the probe in the wake of the national security adviser's resignation. The person was not authorized to discuss the memo by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. "All the Comey memos should be turned over to Congress, any unclassified memos should be released to the public and President Trump should submit to investigators the tapes with which he threatened Mr Comey", he demanded.

The White House has however rejected the new allegations.

Trump fired Flynn on February 13, on grounds that he had misled Vice-President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russians. The White House has said Trump's conversation with the Russians were "wholly appropriate".

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

"We are witnessing an obstruction of justice case unfolding in real time", Connecticut Sen.

The firing of FBI Director James Comey confirms two things: the president of the United States is probably guilty and most definitely stupid. But the sheer controversy of the act, especially as it involved handing over to an adversarial nation something that could endanger our own and our ally's national security, engendered some of the harshest criticism of his presidency so far.

"It's the longstanding position of the executive branch that the president can not be indicted while in office", said Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, a top Justice Department official under President George W. Bush.

As FBI director, he was accustomed to hours-long oversight hearings before Congress covering a wide range of topics.

When the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, President Barack Obama notably said in an interview with Fox News, "I continue to believe that she has not jeopardized America's national security". Comey created several memos of encounters with Trump to ensure that a record would exist of conversations he found odd or troubling, according to the person.

Comey was abruptly fired May 9 and learned of the dismissal as he was giving a talk in Los Angeles.

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. He also tweeted a veiled threat last Friday warning the ex-director against leaking information. Even if Comey's version of events proves accurate, not everyone agrees Trump's actions would amount to obstruction.

Ten years ago, Comey, then acting attorney general, rushed to a Washington hospital to thwart an attempt by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andy Card to get a seriously ill Attorney General John Ashcroft to reauthorize a surveillance program.

He told CNN: "But, if indeed the president tried to tell the director of the FBI, who worked for him, that he should drop an investigation-whether it was Michael Flynn or some investigation that had nothing to do with Russian Federation or politics or the election-that's a very serious matter".

"While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn", the White House said in a statement.

Not only had Comey been investigating the Trump team for possible collusion with the Russians, but Kislyak himself was at the center of that very investigation. He reportedly bribed the burglars, tried to stop the FBI from investigating the robbery, destroyed all evidence, and fired uncooperative staff members as well. "It is unethical and possibly illegal", said Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana).

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