Republicans Insist Donald Trump's Request To James Comey Wasn't Serious

Ivan Schwartz
May 19, 2017

Then-Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on the FBI on Capitol Hill May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Trump's critics contend several of his top campaign aides - including onetime campaign chair Paul Manafort, adviser Carter Page and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn - had suspicious, if not illicit, contacts with Kremlin-linked officials.

Flynn was forced out in February after he misled the vice president about his conversations with Russia's ambassador before Trump took office.

Trump often speaks in hyperbolic language, however, which means he may not have necessarily expected Comey to ever imprison members of the press, despite what sounds like a rather frightening suggestion.

Trump also disclosed highly classified material to Kislyak and Lavrov, according to The Washington Post. He faced similar questions on Friday when he appeared at an event in Wisconsin, just hours after Trump put out a string of headline-making tweets.

Trump's disclosures are "certainly", a risk to U.S. -U.K intelligence sharing, one of the closest bonds in espionage, says Matt Tait, a former analyst from GCHQ, Britain's equivalent of the NSA.

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And Trump isn't the first USA or Israeli leader to disclose intelligence in a way that made spy professionals cringe. The conflicting claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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"There isn't any judicial review of impeachment decisions, so Congress just needs to be satisfied that Trump committed high crimes or misdemeanors", Jens David Ohlin, a law professor and associate dean at Cornell Law School told AFP. Collectively, they are deeply disturbing.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) told reporters there should be a special counsel only "if" the committees in the Senate and House investigating Russian Federation "cannot get to answers". Giving it to the Russians would make it available to Iran, Israel's sworn enemy.

"I was in the Nixon administration, as you know, and I thought after watching the Clinton impeachment I'd never see another one", Gergen told host Anderson Cooper.

"Well, I think that the obstruction of justice was the number one charge against Nixon, that brought him down. I'm not going to take a memo, I want the guy to come in", said Sen.

Comey reportedly caved in and called the investigation a "matter" even though, according to the Times, Comey was aware of the existence of a document written by a Democratic operative that allegedly indicated Lynch would have protected Clinton in the email probe. There have been many others. "The important ongoing bipartisan investigation in the House will also continue", Ryan said.

There is a partisan split in the new poll: 79 percent of Republican voters approve of Trump's job while 79 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents disapprove. For their part, Republicans should not let their reflexive anti-Democrat feelings distract them from the profoundly serious questions that have been raised about the president. The House passed all 11 articles of impeachment, which, among other things, accused Johnson of illegally removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, an opponent of president's policies, from office. But nobody should shrink from the need to face up to the truth - wherever it might lead.

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