Sen. Collins: Tone, context of Trump-Comey conversations "so important"


James Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., in May.

We have a paranoid, free-tweeting leader of the free world who's taken his "Apprentice" tactics all the way to the White House. His inept, amateurish administration can't even get their story straight on the firing of James Comey. It now looks like Trump can add witness-tampering and obstruction of justice to his resume.

Saturday in Boone, IA, Republican Senator Joni Ernst commented on the possibility.

Sewell: Shouldn't the American people be concerned what - I think that it's really hard for us to fathom that he wouldn't know that he should've disclosed that he received $30,000 as a part of - of a speaking engagement to RT, the Russian USA anti-propaganda outlet. Comey's associates have said Comey told them Trump had asked for a pledge of loyalty to the president and later asked Comey to consider ending the investigation of Flynn. "I don't know how they are going to respond", Spicer said.

Any attempt by the White House to block the testimony would likely have deep political consequences given that Comey was overseeing the investigation into possible collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Trump's known to change his mind on major issues.

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Flynn was sacked after less than a month because of revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

Another official said it is questionable whether it would even work to invoke executive privilege to prevent the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief from testifying about his conversations with the president before Trump fired him considering that Comey is now a private citizen and Trump himself has in tweets and interviews discussed details of his private talks with him.

An adviser to Trump's campaign and prominent speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Flynn was sacked less than four weeks after Trump's inauguration after claims that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the US, during the presidential transition. "Mr. Comey's testimony may shed light on government misconduct".

White House officials had weighed trying to block Comey by arguing that his discussions with the president pertained to national security and that there was an expectation of privacy.

The Senate panel is likely to ask Mr Comey about these interactions and the allegation that Mr Trump tried to pressure him into dropping the FBI's inquiry into Mr Flynn, whose ties to both Russian Federation and Turkey are under scrutiny. He later tweeted that Comey better hope there are no "tapes" of their conversations.

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Republican Sen. Susan Collins of ME, also a member of the committee, said she had several questions for Comey in light of various public statements about the ongoing FBI probe, including Trump's claim that the FBI director had said that Trump was not the subject of an investigation.

"I made my speech, then we talked about some other stuff, and I got up and left", Putin said.

"It is my opinion that numerous leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media", he tweeted, after the first reports about the alleged back-channel emerged.

He has an incentive to push back against the White House portrayal of him as unfit for office. Given Russia's long-standing desire to cultivate relations with influential USA persons, isn't the American public right to be concerned about Mr. - Mr. Flynn's conduct, his failure to disclose that contact with the Russian ambassador, his attempts to cover it up and what looks like the White House's attempts to sweep this under the rug? Graham said he has seen no evidence anyone from the Trump campaign worked with Russian officials to influence the election.

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