by Itunuoluwa Adebo
The Republicans are privately beginning to worry that they may have to one day sit in judgement of Trump, or that more damaging information from Comey could force the president to step down. Hours after Tuesday’s report by The Times, there was a shift among congressional Republicans, who until now have resisted criticising Trump, or holding him accountable for all his actions.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) immediately said he’s prepared to subpoena the memos that Comey reportedly wrote contemporaneously to document his interactions with Trump. Chaffetz sent a letter to the FBI on Tuesday night asking for any notes, documents or records of Trump and Comey’s conversations to be turned over to his panel by May 24.
This was echoed by AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan: “We need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo.”
Comey has also been invited by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to testify publicly at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to “tell his side of the story” about his dealings with Trump, Graham said Tuesday, even before this latest story broke. Republicans have openly discussed the possibility of a select committee or the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the Trump-Russia connection. It’s still a minority of GOP lawmakers, but Republican leaders are watching closely.
“It is important to get to the bottom of it,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the Freedom Caucus. Meadows was last seen celebrating passage of the House GOP health care bill in the Rose Garden with Trump and dozens of his Republican colleagues. “We’ve got one standard, and we need to make sure that applies to everybody.”
Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway met with the Freedom Caucus on Tuesday night and would not say afterward what they discussed. Meadows insisted the Comey matter did not come up, but he told reporters that he intends, through his role on the Oversight Committee, to help get to the bottom of what happened. And he expects cooperation from the White House.
Top Republicans fear that this latest Trump controversy coming just a week after Comey was fired, and a day after it was revealed that the president leaked highly classified intelligence information during a meeting with Russian officials, will overwhelm everything they are trying to do legislatively. Health care, tax reform, building up the Pentagon, all of which is potentially threatened by the latest issue