Donald Trump has been embroiled in a controversy following a pair of media reports accusing him of trying to quash an FBI investigation against his former NSA James Flynn, and disclosing highly classified information to Russia.
According to a report published in the New York Times yesterday, Trump asked sacked FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation against Flynn.
“I hope you can let this go,” the US president told Comey, a memo, written by the former FBI chief, published in the report said.
Comey was abruptly fired at a time when he was leading an investigation into whether Trump’s election campaign had links with Russia’s alleged interference in the US polls.
The request was made by Trump after Flynn resigned as the national security advisor following surfacing of reports that he had maintained links with the Russians.
Sourcing its story based on two people who read the memo, the daily claimed that Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with Trump immediately after the meeting, which took place a day after Flynn resigned.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” the US president asked Comey.
“He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Trump said, adding that Flynn had done nothing wrong. “I agree he is a good guy,” Comey said, according to the memo.
The Washington Post also published a report which alleged that Trump shared “highly classified” information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during a White House meeting last week.
The report cited current and former US officials, who said the president’s disclosures jeopardised a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The revelations swung the White House into action which strongly refuted the allegations.
“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the resident has never asked Mr Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” a White House official said.
“The president has utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr Comey,” the official said requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democrats demanded an investigation into the allegations and Trump’s relations with Russia.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said he was shaken by the report in the New York Times.
“And we are only one day removed from stunning allegations that the president may have divulged classified information to a known adversary. Concerns about our national security, the rule of law, the independence of our nation’s highest law enforcement agencies are mounting,” he said on the Senate floor.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said if the reports are true, the Trump’s brazen attempt to shut down the FBI investigation is an “assault on the rule of law” that is fundamental to the American democracy.
“At best, President Trump has committed a grave abuse of executive power. At worst, he has obstructed justice.
“With each passing day, Trump’s actions give greater and greater urgency to the need for a full and independent investigation of the Trump-Russia connection,” she said.
Pelosi said the Democrats will file a discharge petition to demand a vote on the bipartisan bill to establish an independent, outside commission to investigate the president’s ties with Russia.