WASHINGTON — Leaders of the congressional investigations into Russian meddling into the U.S. election are calling on former FBI Director James Comey to testify on the Hill following an explosive report released Tuesday that President Donald Trump asked Comey to end his investigation into his former national security adviser.
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders quickly described the actions Comey depicted in a memo as “obstruction of justice.”
The New York Times first reported Tuesday that Trump asked Comey to end the FBI’s investigation of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn one day after he fired Flynn, according to a memo written by Comey detailing their discussion. A source familiar with the matter confirmed the contents of the memo to CNN.
“If these reports are true, the president’s brazen attempt to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn is an assault on the rule of law that is fundamental to our democracy,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “At best, President Trump has committed a grave abuse of executive power. At worst, he has obstructed justice.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, discussing the latest developments on the the Senate floor, said: “The country is being tested in unprecedented ways. I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate, history is watching.”
Ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, also called on Comey to testify before his panel.
“Enough is enough, Congress really needs to get to the bottom of this,” Schiff said.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that Comey should testify before his Senate panel about his discussions with Trump over Flynn, who resigned earlier this year.
Comey had already been invited to testify before the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday about his firing a week ago, but he declined the invitation.
“OK, well, he’s got to come in and tell us why,” Graham said. “We’re not going to try somebody on a piece of paper.”
Graham also said he would consider a special prosecutor if Comey’s recounting of the meeting is accurate.
“If I thought there was inappropriate behavior by the President, sure,” Graham said.
The Republican chairman of the House oversight committee says he will seek copies of any memos that Comey wrote about his meetings with Trump.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in a tweet that he has his “subpoena pen ready.” The move by Chaffetz comes just hours after the disclosure that Comey wrote in a memo that Trump asked him to shut down a federal investigation into Flynn.