Congress Rattled by Reports Trump Tried to End Flynn Probe

Leigh Ann Caldwell
Trump asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe: Sources
Trump asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe: Sources

Senate Democrats immediately pounced Tuesday night after a bombshell report that President Donald Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to halt his probe of Mike Flynn, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying that the country "is being tested in unprecedented ways."

Republicans had mixed reactions, with some expressing skepticism about the story, while at least one key GOP lawmaker saying he's concerned.

"In a week full of revelation after revelation — on a day when we thought things couldn't get any worse, they have," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate: History is watching."

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Trump asked Comey to ease off an investigation into Flynn, Trump's former National Security Adviser, according to a memo that the FBI chief wrote to his own files shortly after speaking with the president, NBC confirmed. The story was first reported by The New York Times.

Sen. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee and who recently announced his retirement from Congress, said that "on the surface that seems like an extraordinary use of influence to try to shutdown an investigation."

White House: Trump never asked Comey to end Flynn probe
White House: Trump never asked Comey to end Flynn probe

"If the memo exists, I need to see it and I need to see it right away. We are drafting the necessary paperwork to get the memo so we will find out in a hurry if it's out there," Chaffetz told NBC News.

But Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was skeptical of the report.

"As close as (Sen.) Mark Warner and I have worked with the director over the past many months now, I actually believed the director might have told us if there had been a request like that (from Trump). And it was never mentioned by him," Burr told reporters.

"I'm getting really, really tired of anonymous sources," Burr added.

The news comes 24 hours after a report that Trump allegedly revealed classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during a meeting in the Oval office last week.

Comey memo says Trump asked him to end Flynn probe
Comey memo says Trump asked him to end Flynn probe

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been withholding judgment of Trump's meeting with Lavrov, said that this is now more reason for Comey, who was fired exactly one week ago, to come testify.

"If Comey is alleging president did something inappropriate, there is an open invitation for him," Graham said. "Don't want to read it in a memo, I want him to say in person."

The latest developments have renewed focus on Democrats' call for a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation.

"This stunning, breathtaking revelation that the president is accused of reaching out directly to the head of the FBI to stop an investigation on General Flynn under these circumstances raises serious questions of obstruction of justice," Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin said.