GUEST SPEAKER — President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., this morning. Trump is heading to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., where he will give the commencement address. (AP Photo)
Media launch another salvo at Trump
WASHINGTON — The New York Times writes that notes allegedly from then FBI director James Comey say President Donald Trump personally appealed to him to abandon the bureau’s investigation into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The White House denied the report after the notes were disclosed late Tuesday. James Comey has not authenticated the notes.
The allegation is odd because a month earlier the Washington Post, on January 23, 2017, wrote, “The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador to the United States and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn — national security adviser to then-President-elect Trump — but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government, U.S. officials said.”
The New York Times and Comey have yet to explain the inconsistency. Nor have they clarified that moving an investigation along necessarily implies pressure to reach a particular decision.
The allegations follow previous anonymous and unfounded leaks launched at President Trump. Earlier this week the Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press printed leaks that alleged the president had disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and the country’s ambassador to the United States.
A U.S. official who confirmed the discussion to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk. The Times that first declined to print the subject country Trump is supposed to have alluded to in the meeting with the foreign minister because of security concerns ironically later exposed to the world that the country was Israel.
Statements from Israel say that Israel has no concerns with what Trump said.
In a statement, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, said the partnership between the U.S and Israel was solid.
Defending Trump’s actions, officials played down the information which had been supplied by Israel under an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Trump himself pointed out he had the authority as president to share “facts pertaining to terrorism” and airline safety with Russia.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, sent a letter to the FBI on Tuesday requesting that it turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and Trump.
He said he would give the FBI a week and then “if we need a subpoena, we’ll do it.”
The White House vigorously denied it all. “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,” a White House statement said.
Trump fired Flynn on Feb. 13, on grounds that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russians.
When Trump fired Comey, he said he did so based on Comey’s very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and how it affected his leadership of the FBI.