The White House was knocked on the defensive a second day in a row following a report that President Donald Trump tried to get the FBI director to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser — which three Democratic senators called evidence of obstruction of justice, if true.
FBI Director James Comey wrote a memo immediately after a February Oval Office conversation with Trump reporting that the president asked him to end the agency’s investigation of the former Trump aide, Michael Flynn, the New York Times reported late Tuesday. Other news organizations confirmed the report afterward.
The revelation added to the political peril for Trump’s White House by introducing the possibility of an impeachable offense. The White House had spent much of the day trying to contain damage from a report Monday that Trump revealed sensitive and highly classified intelligence to two senior Russian officials.
The White House pushed back against the version of events in Comey’s memo with a statement emailed to reporters saying Trump “has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn” and the description in the purported memo ‘is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.”
The White House also pointed to Senate testimony acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe delivered last week that there had been no effort to impede the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election. Flynn is a subject of a counter-intelligence probe.
Three senior Senate Democrats, including Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Richard Durbin of Illinois, said the latest allegations appeared to be evidence of “obstruction of justice” by Trump.
“The memo is powerful evidence of obstruction of justice and certainly merits immediate and prompt investigation by an independent special prosecutor,” said Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.