Fractious House panel at centre of latest Trump probes

Frederick Owens
May 18, 2017

Prices of bonds, regarded as a safe haven in times of market turbulence, rallied.

House Republicans have mixed reactions to the surprise announcement that the Justice Department has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign in 2016. In a memo, Comey wrote that Trump had asked him to shut down an FBI investigation into Flynn, according to a person familiar with the situation. The committee also asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to give the committee any notes that Comey might have made regarding discussions he had with White House or Justice Department officials about Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Pressure built on U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday as lawmakers intensified probes into his ouster of the FBI chief and possible collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russian Federation, more fellow Republicans called for an independent investigation and one even mentioned impeachment.

Top Democrats said they don't have almost enough facts at this point to say whether or not Trump should be impeached and a number of Republicans continuing to drag their feet on the investigation. President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974 to spare him and the country from having to re-live the Watergate scandal in a historic trial of a former president. About 10 House Republicans and four Senate Republicans have called for some sort of independent investigation.

Asked on his way out of the news conference whether he still retained confidence in Trump, Ryan replied: "I do".

The way Lavrov's meeting with Trump came about has also raised questions over whether the USA president had been played.

It takes a majority of the House to impeach a president and a two-thirds vote of the Senate to remove him from office.

"I hope you can let this go", Trump told the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, according to the memo as cited by the New York Times, which first reported its existence.

"My major concern right now is that I don't know what the president said", Burr said.

"Simply put, the Republicans are not doing their job to hold the Republican president responsible", said Congressman Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. He told CNN on Wednesday, "I think we are in the position now where it's time for an independent commission or a special prosecutor or whatever".

More news: With 'tapes' tweet, Trump evokes Nixon's White House

Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, went further. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. Adversity makes you stronger. Never, ever, give up. "Things will work out just fine". Obstruction of justice charges often come down to whether prosecutors can show a person "corruptly" meant to interfere with an investigation.

The Comey memo's emergence had congressional Democrats suggesting that the president engaged in obstruction of justice, an impeachable offence.

The Washington Post first reported Monday that Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat, related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

Leaving their meeting Wednesday, a number of conservative House Republicans said they and their constituents remained firmly supportive of the president, and they questioned why there are so many leaks coming out that are hurtful to Trump. Putin made light of the matter at a news conference in Russian Federation, saying Moscow was ready to hand a transcript of the meeting to USA lawmakers if that would help reassure them.

Most Republicans have said the current Federal Bureau of Investigation probe and investigations in the Republican-led Congress into the Russian Federation matter are sufficient.

"Now is the time to gather all the pertinent information", Ryan told reporters after the private.

Ryan said Congress needs to get the facts, but "it is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president". Comey had previously refused to acknowledge the parallel Trump investigation, and his disclosure enrages Democrats who already blamed Comey for costing Clinton the presidency.

But he acknowledged that "it would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House".

"I'm sure we're going to go on to hear from Mr. Comey about why, if this happened as he allegedly describes, why didn't he take action at the time? So there are a lot of unanswered questions".

Two days later, Flynn's lawyer and transition lawyers discussed the investigation of Flynn.

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