Arizona GOP Senator John McCain, a former presidential candidate, said Tuesday that the latest revelations out of the Trump White House are “at a point where it’s of Watergate size and scale.”
“We’ve seen this movie before,” McCain said at a dinner where he was receiving the International Republican Institute’s Freedom Award, hours after it was revealed that the US president in February had urged James Comey, the former FBI director, to drop an investigation into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with the Russians. The report was based on a memo Comey drafted after a meeting with Trump following Flynn’s dismissal on February 13. It was first reported by the New York Times and later confirmed to other media outlets.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump is accused of telling Comey, according to the memo written by the former FBI chief, who was sacked last week.
“He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Trump reportedly told him.
The Flynn-related report came some 24 hours after the Washington Post dropped a bombshell article revealing that Trump had disclosed highly classified intelligence obtained by Israel to Russians officials –Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and its ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak — in the White House last week.
Both reports were at first denied and then rebutted by the White House.
“The shoes continue to drop, and every couple days there’s a new aspect,” McCain said in comments reported by the Daily Beast on Tuesday.
McCain said Trump needs to “get it all out … and the longer you delay, the longer it’s going to last.”
McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, also called it “unacceptable” for Trump to invite Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov into the Oval Office last week, calling him a “stooge.”
Meanwhile, the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee , Jason Chaffetz, wrote a letter to the FBI requesting that it turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and Trump.
In his letter Tuesday, Chaffetz said he was making the request to determine whether the president attempted to influence or impede the bureau’s investigation into Flynn’s contacts with the Russians.
Chaffetz’s letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe requests all memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings that relate to any communications between Comey and the president.
The letter gave the FBI a week to produce the records.
The intensifying drama comes as Trump is set to embark Friday on his first foreign trip, including to Israel, which had been optimistically viewed by some aides as an opportunity to reset an administration floundering under an inexperienced president.
When Trump fired Comey, he said he did so based on Comey’s very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and how it affected his leadership of the FBI. But the White House has provided differing accounts of the firing. 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.