Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, plans to talk to deposed FBI Director James Comey on Monday to acquire records regarding his meetings with President Trump.
Serving as a Utah congressman since 2009, Chaffetz announced last week that he’ll be leaving office on June 30. Comey is expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee some time after Memorial Day.
Citing a leaked document and anonymous sources, a New York Times report on May 19 claimed that Trump had called Comey “a nut job” during a White House meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster would not say if confronting Russia over election hacking was brought up during the conversation with the Russian delegation. “The gist of the conversation was that the president feels as if he is hamstrung in his ability to work with Russia to find areas of cooperation because this has been obviously so much in the news,” he said.
A ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said he wants Chaffetz to issue subpoenas compelling the White House to release all documentation of Trump’s meeting with the two Russian officials. “I think documents will help us to ferret out exactly what’s the truth and what’s a lie,” he noted.
Chaffetz said he is also seeking to get his hands on a memo allegedly written by Comey following a February meeting he had with Trump in which he may have been asked to drop the Russia investigation after the firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump supposedly told Comey, according to a memo that has never been seen or verified.
“It’s important to remember nobody’s actually seen these documents,” Chaffetz emphasized. “There’s been an awful lot written and said about it, but I don’t even know that the Department of Justice has them. Maybe Director Comey has them. I don’t know where they reside. I don’t know if there are documents. But we’re certainly pursuing them.”
A member of the Senate Intelligence committee, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has told reporters that he also has asked the White House to produce any notes from the meeting with the Russians and wants to see any memos that Comey wrote.
Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” but Rubio said he doesn’t think so, noting, “These issues are being raised in the press. These questions need to be answered.”
Senate Judiciary Committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has come to Comey’s defense, stating that he is “in no way, shape or form a ‘nut job,”’ and even though he has made mistakes, “the reason for the termination has really not been ferreted out. And that’s what has to be before the American people clear and distinct.”
In addition to those comments, Feinstein added some advice for the President. “Stop the tweeting,” she counseled. “Think about what you say. Because you’re reflecting in a big pool.”
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