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White House Denies Trump Asked FBI To Drop Investigation
18 May 2017, 08:19 | Clarence Schmidt
Paul Ryan. John Gress — Getty Images Paul RyanSpeaker Paul Ryan ‘We Need the Facts’ on James Comey’s Firing Catherine Trautwein10:50 AM ET
Kislyak was with Lavrov at the White House when Trump disclosed the sensitive information.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). FILE - In this May 8, 2017, file photo, then-FBI Director James Comey speaks to the Anti-Defamation League National Leadership Summit in Washington.
Flynn was forced to resign February 13 after reports of the Yates-White House conversation.
Mr Trump took to Twitter to insist he had the "absolute right" to share "facts pertaining.to terrorism and airline flight safety" with Russian Federation.
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".
The paper - citing two people who read notes written by Comey - reported that when Comey met Trump the day after Flynn resigned, the president tried to halt any FBI investigation.
Republican US Representative Jason Chaffetz, chairman of a House of Representatives oversight committee, said his committee 'is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists.
The person who described the Comey memo to the AP was not authorized to discuss it by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Times said Mr Trump told Mr Comey, "I hope you can let this go".
The White House vigorously denied it all.
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'.
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 disputed the account.
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.
Mark Warner of Virginia, top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said he would ask Comey for additional material as part of that panel's investigation. "Memos, transcripts, tapes - the list keeps getting longer", he said.
Trump's remarks to Comey immediately evoked comparisons to President Richard Nixon's conversations in the Oval Office as the Watergate scandal unfolded. If Trump were speaking to Comey "solely out of sympathy or good will for Flynn, Trump would have a good argument that he lacked criminal intent", Zeidenberg said.
The newspaper said Comey was in the Oval Office that day with other national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. When that ended, Trump asked everyone to leave except Comey, and he eventually turned the conversation to Flynn.
"The time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians was time he did not spend focusing on Russia's aggressive behavior", McCain said. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the president's comments were "wholly appropriate".
'Obstruction of justice is such a serious offense, ' King said.
According to the Times, two U.S. officials, one current and one former, said that trump shared the intelligence supplied by Israel in the fight against Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting last Wednesday, which the American press was barred from attending.
The spy in question was sent to track an ISIS plot to bring down a passenger jet en route to the United States with a bomb hidden in a laptop that USA officials think could get through airport screening machines unnoticed.
"Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump", said Israel's ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer.
Associated Press writers Vivian Salama and Jill Colvin contributed.
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