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House Speaker Paul Ryan Resists ‘Rushing To Judgment’ In Trump-Russia Scandal

“It is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president,” House Speaker Paul Ryan warned Wednesday at his weekly press conference, according to Yahoo News.

The Wisconsin Republican, referring to the scandal involving Russia’s interference in the 2016 election with the possible collusion of Donald Trump’s campaign, told reporters that “we need the facts.” He explained: “We have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House, and that means before rushing to judgment, we get all pertinent information.”

Ryan criticized James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired last week, for claiming the president asked him in February to end the bureau’s investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey said he wrote a memo immediately following his White House meeting to ensure he would remember Trump’s words. According to Ryan, the director should have gone public with the memo right after the conversation.

“The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is appropriately (asking for) this memo, and I’m sure we’re going to go on to hear from Mr. Comey about why if this happens as he allegedly describes, why didn’t he take action at the time?” the speaker told reporters.

At first, Trump claimed he dismissed Comey because of the manner in which the FBI conducted its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The president has repeatedly called for criminal charges against Clinton. However, administration officials offered a different reason for Comey’s firing. They said Trump was acting on a recommendation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made in a letter to the White House. The story changed again when the president told NBC News’ Lester Holt that he sacked the FBI chief at least partly because of the bureau’s probe of the Russian scandal.

If Trump pressured Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn’s Russian connections, he could be guilty of obstructing justice, legal experts told Yahoo News. The FBI is not the only authority looking into allegations that Trump associates conspired with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and other representatives of the Russian government. Several congressional panels, including the House and Senate intelligence committees, have been holding hearings. This week, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to coordinate the multiple federal probes.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Ryan said. “What I told our members is now is the time to gather the pertinent information. Our job is to be responsible, sober and focused only on gathering the facts. That’s what Congress does in conducting oversight of the executive branch.”

Source: Yahoo
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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