Following President Trump’s revelation that former F.B.I. Director James B. Comey may have recorded their conversations, leading Republicans and Democrats are now demanding that Trump turn over any recorded conversations he has documented since taking office.
Key Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Sunday called for Trump to turn over any recorded conversations after he tweeted: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
“If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Following his interview, leading Democrats went to the talk show circuit to make the same demand.
The Trump Administration Goes Quiet As Polls Show Discourse
Trump’s camp has been oddly quiet, a fact highlighted by Chris Wallace who opened “Fox News Sunday” by noting that not a single Trump supporter was willing to appear on TV to discuss the massive breach of trust issued by the Trump administration.
A bipartisan call to release any recorded conversation came at the same time as an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday which found that just 29% of Americans said they approve of Comey’s firing while 38% said they disapprove.
When respondents said they had been paying “a lot” of attention to the firing, 53% said they disapprove of the termination and just 33% approved of the decision.
The House will return Monday after a recess and there is still a lot of discourse among lawmakers about the assignment of a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) told CNN that many Democratic senators will attempt to block Trump’s nominee for FBI director until the Justice Department names a special prosecutor.
“We will have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move, because who the FBI director is is related to who the special prosecutor is,” Schumer said.
Paul Ryan Isn’t Getting Any Love
Trump poster boy, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) opposes a special prosecutor, no surprise there. That hasn’t stopped lawmakers such as Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.), a first-term lawmaker from publicly proclaiming that Comey’s termination raises “serious and legitimate questions about timing, intent and the integrity of ongoing investigations.”
While the Trump administration has claimed they wanted nothing more than loyalty from Comey, it was Trump himself who was forced to stand behind his decision.
“I want loyalty to the country. I mean, I want loyalty to the United States of America. I want him to do a good job — or her — to do a great job,” Trump said during a Sunday interview on Fox News
When asked if his conversations had been taped, Trump said, “I won’t talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest, and I hope he will be, and I’m sure he will be, I hope.”
Reps and Democrats have said that any White House recordings must be preserved for congressional review.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a former federal prosecutor, said that “it’s probably inevitable” such recordings would need to be handed over to Congress.
The Search For A New F.B.I. Director
In the meantime, Sessions and Rosenstein have already interviews eight possible replacements for the FBI director job.
It has been suggested that Trump should nominate Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to lead the FBI. Garland was former president Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a move that was blocked by Republicans.
Josh Holmes, a top outside political adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), appeared on Fox News to say the Senate leader also would support Garland’s nomination to the FBI post.
Vice President Mike Pence and other Republican leaders have said they would be willing to back Garland for the job. Democratic leaders have said they would be surprised if Garland even considered an interview.
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