WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that “the country is being tested in unprecedented ways” after learning of new reporting saying that President Donald Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to shelve an investigation into the Russian contacts of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Schumer said he was “shaken” by the New York Times report, going on to say that “on a day when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, they have.”
According to the daily’s reporting, in February Trump asked Comey to put an end to an investigation into the contacts with Russia maintained by Flynn, who had to resign his post over those very links.
The Times reported that Comey wrote in a memo that Trump told him that “I hope you can let this go,” referring to the Flynn investigation.
“I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate: history is watching,” Schumer, a Democrat, said in brief remarks on the Senate floor, referring to the responsibility he has said lawmakers have to demand and facilitate an independent investigation into Russian involvement in the November election, in which Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
The daily said it had not been able to view the memo that Comey allegedly wrote, but one of the aides of the former FBI chief read to the paper part of the text.
“He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Trump allegedly told Comey, adding that Flynn had done nothing wrong.
Comey wrote that he did not respond to Trump about squelching the Flynn investigation, saying only that “I agree he is a good guy.”
Meanwhile, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said that “Enough is enough,” adding that “Congress needs to get to the bottom of this.”
The California Democrat said that, if necessary, lawmakers must demand any tapes Trump made of his conversation with Comey, something the president had alluded he might have done, apparently attempting to threaten the former FBI chief to remain mum about the matter after summarily firing him last Tuesday afternoon.
Comey was invited to testify behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his findings regarding Russia and the possible reasons for his dismissal, but he declined the offer claiming that he would only do so publicly, after which Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham invited him to testify in an open hearing.
The Times’ allegation comes as Washington and the country are still in shock over a Washington Post report on Monday saying that the president disclosed classified information to Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting last Wednesday, a day after firing Comey.