WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans appeared to be digging in Wednesday for a long investigation of President Trump amid reports this week that he shared sensitive intelligence information with the Russians and asked former FBI director James Comey to shut down the bureau's probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday he supports House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz's request to acting FBI director Andrew McCabe for copies of Comey's reported memos documenting his conversations with Trump, and any other notes, summaries or recordings of communications between them.
The Utah Republican tweeted Tuesday night, "I need to see (the Comey memo) sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready."
The Senate Judiciary Committee issued requests Wednesday afternoon to the FBI and White House for all records related to conversations between Comey, his superiors and Trump, including any audio recordings. Trump had previously indicated there may be recordings of the conversations he had with Comey.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the panel's senior Democrat, said they sent a letter to Comey asking him to appear before the committee for both open and closed sessions. They also sent a letter to McCabe seeking any memos or notes Comey prepared regarding any communications he had with senior White House and Justice Department officials related to investigations into Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“I’ve got questions about the president’s comments about tapes — secret tapes, we have questions about transcripts with the meeting with the Russians (in the White House), we’ve got questions about obtaining former director Comey’s memo and that’s just Wednesday,” Warner told reporters. He added that he expected to get a response from McCabe within the next 72 hours and to hear from Comey by "early next week about whether he’ll accept our request.”
Ryan said that investigation and ongoing investigations by the House and Senate Intelligence committees should not be rushed despite the pressure of a 24-hour news cycle.
"Now is the time to gather all of the pertinent information," Ryan said. "Our job is to be responsible, sober and concentrate on gathering the facts."
Ryan added "that obviously takes some time."
"We can't deal with speculation and innuendo," he said. "And there's clearly a lot of politics being played. Our job is to get the facts and to be sober about doing that."