Donald Trump Accused Of Playing Politics, Creating Distraction With FBI Chief Nomination

President Trump was trying to divert the nation’s focus away from the Russian scandal Wednesday morning when he nominated Christopher Wray for FBI director, according to a high-ranking Senate Democrat.

“I think it is more than a little bit curious that the president chose this morning as the time to announce his new FBI head,” Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN. “There will be a time and place to review him, but it seems to me that this is an effort to try to take people’s attention off what is going to be the main event, at least for the next two days: the leaders of our intelligence community and the FBI director.”

The Virginia lawmaker was referring to former FBI chief James Comey’s testimony to the committee that was scheduled for Thursday. Trump recently fired Comey, initially claiming the decision was based on the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The president later acknowledged that he dismissed the director in an effort to stop the FBI’s probe of alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to interfere in the 2016 election.

Warner criticized Republicans, who hold the majority in the Senate and House. “I think what you are seeing from some of my Republican colleagues, we’re committed to getting to the truth, following the facts, but I think you are seeing some Republicans, particularly House members, try to throw up other stories,” he said.

Evidence that investigators have uncovered in the Trump-Russia inquiry has a disturbing “pattern,” according to Warner. The senator said he was particularly troubled by the revelation that Trump asked intelligence officials to use their influence to quash the FBI probe. “We’ve had reports as recently as (Tuesday) that maybe even more than once, the president tried to intervene with (National Intelligence) Director (Dan) Coats to ask him to either downplay or dismiss the FBI investigation into contacts between Trump officials (and Russia),” Warner told CNN host Chris Cuomo. “If we have evidence that the president of the United States intervened in an investigation, and asked Coats and (National Security Agency Director Michael) Rogers to back off, and then we have Director Comey (on Thursday) describing the conversations he had with the president, and the fact that he felt uncomfortable ... that’s just unacceptable.”

Coats denied The Washington Post report that Trump asked for his help. He told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that he had not “felt pressured to intervene in the Russia investigation in any way.”

Comey is expected to tell the committee about several of his meetings with Trump in the White House. The former director has previously accused the president of asking for his “loyalty.” Comey said that in February, Trump urged him to call off the FBI’s investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Some legal scholars believe that if the allegations are true, the president may have put himself at risk of impeachment by committing obstruction of justice. Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI chief, is coordinating the various federal investigations of the scandal.

Source: CNN
Photo: YouTube

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