Donald Trump 'asked Comey to shut down Flynn investigation'

Susan Walsh  AP

Claims that Donald Trump asked his former FBI director to drop an investigation into an ex-national security adviser have been denied by the White House.

But the reports - both rebutted by Trump's team - add to a mounting perception of an administration in a perpetual state of chaos.

The Comey memo, first reported by the New York Times, caused alarm on Capitol Hill and raised questions about whether Trump tried to interfere with a federal investigation.

Israel's Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer reacted in the same vein on Tuesday when the New York Times first released the report. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go'. Chaffetz's letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe requests all memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings that relate to any communications between Comey and the president.

After Tuesday's revelation, the White House said in a statement, "While the President has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn". The newspaper cited a memo Mr Comey wrote shortly after the conversation.

Trump spent much of the day trying to put to rest separate allegations that he revealed sensitive information to Lavrov and Moscow's ambassador to Washington, arguing he acted within the law.

The United States is Israel's most important ally, providing it with more than US$3 billion (S$4.18 billion) in defence aid each year. "As President I wanted to share with Russian Federation (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety". Some see the reports of the memo as bolstering calls for a special counsel to investigate the president's conduct and possible ties to Russian Federation.

"The country is being tested in unprecedented ways. I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate, history is watching", said top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer. Flynn's lawyer declined to comment when contacted by a BuzzFeed reporter.

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"The time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians was time he did not spend focusing on Russia's aggressive behavior", McCain said.

But the intelligence scandal could corrode trust among allies who shared classified information with the United States on the understanding that it will go no further.

The White House has grown suspicious about the volume and timing of the seemingly never-ending stream of leaks about the president, said one senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to reflect on the feeling inside the West Wing.

US President Donald Trump sits in the driver's seat of a semitrailer as he welcomes truckers and CEOs to the White House in Washington, DC, to discuss healthcare, March 23, 2017. "He wasn't briefed on the source or method of the information either".

Trump, himself, appeared ready to weather the storm. "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russian Federation to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism".

Israel's top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported in January that Israeli intelligence officials had been told in a meeting with USA colleagues that "Israeli intelligence information, methods of operation and sources" could leak from a Trump administration seen as having close ties to the Kremlin.

News Tuesday of Trump's request of Comey immediately renewed concerns from congressional Democrats that Trump was trying to obstruct an investigation that's been examining potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The spy is said to have tipped handlers off about an Islamic State plan to blow up a passenger plane headed for the U.S. by hiding a bomb in a laptop, said the station, quoting current and former USA officials.

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