White House Denies Trump Asked FBI To Drop 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.

The Times report may present the clearest evidence yet that the president has tried to influence government investigations into links between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

"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", a USA official said on condition of anonymity.

He added: "But whether the President's conduct is or is not within the letter of the law is irrelevant; there's a really good reason why, for generations, presidents from across the ideological spectrum have respected the principle of not interfering in federal criminal investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey". The White House has an unusual credibility problem: President Donald Trump's aides deliver questionable st.

But the president took to Twitter to insist he had the "absolute right" to share "facts pertaining.to terrorism and airline flight safety" with Russian Federation.

Trump is scheduled to visit Israel next week - a trip that White House officials indicated would still go ahead.

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

'If true, this is yet another disturbing allegation that the president may have engaged in some interference or obstruction of the investigation. And lawmakers have alleged that the sudden ouster was an attempt to stifle the bureau's investigation into Trump associates' ties to Russia's meddling in the campaign.

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Mr Trump abruptly fired Mr Comey last week, saying he did so based on his very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe. It is part of a paper trail Comey created documenting what he believed to be improper efforts to influence the investigation.

The fact that the president apparently said he "hoped" Comey would end the Flynn investigation rather than more directly ordering it "makes for a weaker but still viable case", said Christopher Slobogin, a criminal law professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.

"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. Flynn's lawyer declined to comment when contacted by a BuzzFeed reporter.

The latest revelation comes a week after Trump fired Comey, in another step that goes beyond the established norms of presidential conduct, even if it's not found to be illegal.

While not commenting directly on the Post and Times reports, Israel's ambassador to the US Ron Dermer stood by the US president in a Monday statement.

An administration official confirmed to AFP on condition of anonymity that the original intelligence came from Israel.

The highly classified information about an Islamic State plot was collected by Israel, a crucial source of intelligence and close partner in the fight against some of the America's fiercest threats in the Middle East.

A US official who confirmed the disclosure to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.

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