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Senate demands Comey memos and Trump tapes as probes ramp up

18 May 2017

If the former FBI Director provides his memos to the committee before he testifies, the hearing could be the other shoe to drop on the Trump White House.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday requesting that it turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and Trump. But he has set a hearing for May 24. The associate also confirmed that Trump asked Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to leave the room before speaking privately with Comey about Flynn, and that the president told Comey he believed Flynn was a "good guy" and asked if the FBI could end the investigation into him.

The Senate Judiciary Committee sent letters asking acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to turn over all of Comey's notes regarding his investigation into Russian Federation, and asked White House Counsel Don McGahn for all records "memorializing interactions with Mr. Comey relating to the FBI's investigation of alleged ties between President Trump's associates and Russian Federation, or the Clinton email investigation, including all audio recordings, transcripts, notes, summaries, or memoranda".

In the memo, which was shared with top Federal Bureau of Investigation associates, Comey wrote that Trump said "I hope you can let this go", in relation to the probe. He says he wants to determine whether the president attempted to influence or impede the FBI's investigation into Flynn.

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The panel's top Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, a constant Trump critic, called the allegation of Trump pressure on Comey "explosive" and said "it appears like a textbook case of criminal obstruction of justice".

"Chairman Burr and I have sent out a request for Director Comey to testify before the Intelligence Committee both in closed and open", Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

The person who described the Comey memo to the AP was not authorized to discuss it by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

An associate of Comey's, who remains anonymous, read sections of that memo to a New York Times reporter. Flynn, a retired Army general, was dismissed from his job less than a month into the new administration after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador regarding US sanctions against Russia. "So from my point of view this is of enormous outcome for his presidency". Flynn was forced to resign February 13 after reports of the Yates-White House conversation.

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The FBI has been investigating Russia's meddling in the US election and whether there was any collusion with Trump associates. "I hope you can let this go" is what the notes say. "This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey". Trump has separately defended his firing of Comey and his sharing of information with Russian officials. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the president's comments were "wholly appropriate".

The Washington Post report from Monday relates to his meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House, where he reportedly disclosed highly classified information pertaining to an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on airplanes.

A US official who confirmed the disclosure to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.

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