James Comey memo could thrust Trump into a deeper legal quagmire

James Comey memo could thrust Trump into a deeper legal quagmire

James Comey memo could thrust Trump into a deeper legal quagmire

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said that it is "appropriate" for the House Oversight Committee to request the memo that was reportedly written by James Comey, the ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, and claimed that President Trump once asked him to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

A handout photo made available by the Russian Foreign Ministry on May 10, 2017 shows US President Donald J. Trump (C) speaking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak during a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC.

According to the Times, Comey wrote in the February memo that Trump told him Flynn had done nothing wrong.

The BBC's North America Correspondent Anthony Zurcher says it's a serious development for the administration.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office had not responded to requests for comment, while the foreign ministry declined comment.

Hours after reports surfaced stating President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian Federation, the New York Times, in its report, Tuesday, cited a memo by former FBI Director James Comey.

As for Comey, whom Trump fired last week, the FBI director wrote in a memo after a February meeting at the White House that the new president had asked him to shut down the FBI's investigation of Flynn and his Russian contacts, said a person who had read the memo.

News Tuesday of Trump's request of Comey immediately renewed concerns from congressional Democrats that Trump was trying to obstruct an investigation that's been examining potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The Oval Office conversation also makes it "increasingly likely" that the Justice Department will appoint a special counsel to investigate, said Stephen Ryan, a former counsel to a Senate investigative committee.

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"Maybe this is when we find out", he said.

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

Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they wanted to see the memo. There can be broader definitions of obstruction of justice such as Sections 1503, 1505 and 1512 of Title 18, which contains variants of language, making it a crime if someone corruptly "obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding", according to the New York Times.

The White House sharply disputed the report, as Democrats seized on it as potential proof of "obstruction" of justice.

The existence of Trump's request is the clearest evidence the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and FBI investigation into links between Trump's associates and Russian Federation, the newspaper reported.

A prosecutor may view "the fact that he's asking Comey to go easy on Flynn and he later fired Comey because of this 'Russia thing,"' as evidence that the president was trying to thwart an investigation that could threaten the president, he said.

The White House quickly responded to the Times story, claiming in a statement that 'the President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn'.

While not commenting directly on the Post and Times reports, Israel's ambassador to the US Ron Dermer stood by the US president in a Monday statement. Chaffetz's letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe requests all memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings that relate to any communications between Comey and the president.

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