Democratic and independent members of Congress were alarmed after allegations surfaced that President Donald Trump pressed former FBI Director James Comey to abandon an investigation of Michael Flynn?s contact with Russian officials.
Lawmakers suggested on Tuesday that Trump had obstructed justice, an impeachable offense, for encouraging Comey to scrap an investigation targeting Flynn, the former national security adviser who lied about his interactions with Russia?s ambassador to the U.S.
The revelations prompted Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) to say that it may soon be time to impeach Trump for interfering with the FBI?s probe of the president?s associates. ?Obstruction of justice is such a serious offense,? King said to CNN?s Wolf Blitzer. He had agreed with Blitzer when asked if ?we?re getting closer and closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment process.?
Trump had said to Comey that ?I hope you can let this go? the day after Flynn resigned in February, according to a memo the former FBI director reportedly wrote. The New York Times first reported about the memo Tuesday. White House officials denied that Trump meddled with Comey?s investigation.
?At best, President Trump has committed a grave abuse of executive power,? said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). ?At worst, he has obstructed justice.?
Pelosi added that Democrats would introduce legislation to create an independent counsel ?to get the facts free of President Trump?s meddling.?
Many members of Congress were already alarmed about Trump?s firing of Comey last week. Suggesting that a crisis is brewing in Washington, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted that ?the country is being tested in unprecedented ways? and that ?history is watching.?
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that Trump?s action ?again appears to cross the line.? He expressed disappointment that Republican colleagues in the Senate have not called for the appointment of an independent counsel.
?When will a Republican senator step out of the shadows and join us in calling for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to bring clear-eyed, non-partisan justice to this tangled web of deception,? Durbin said in a statement.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said that ?the burden is on The New York Times? to produce Comey?s memo.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Comey should testify in Congress about his conversations with Trump.
A group of Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, meanwhile, called for a joint investigation into whether Trump and administration officials ?are engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to obstruct? inquiries by the FBI, Department of Justice and congressional committees into ties between his presidential campaign and Russian officials.
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