The Latest on the Trump Investigations

It looks like James Comey wasn't the only person Donald Trump tried to pressure to influence the FBI's investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with Russia.

Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post: Trump Asked Intelligence Chiefs to Push Back Against FBI Collusion Probe After Comey Revealed Its Existence.
Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

...In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. The officials said the White House appeared uncertain about its power to influence the FBI.

"Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?" one official said of the line of questioning from the White House.

...Current and former officials said that Trump either lacks an understanding of the FBI's role as an independent law enforcement agency or does not care about maintaining such boundaries.
I suspect it's not an either-or situation. Trump almost certainly lacks an understanding of the FBI's role and doesn't care. That confluence of ignorance and belligerence is pretty much the defining feature of his presidency.

Once again, I wonder why it is that an administration whose members continually insist that there is no validity to the allegations they colluded with Russia would try to shut down an investigation that would exonerate them, if what they are asserting is true.

Especially since they are well aware that Congressional Republicans are eminently willing to run interference for them. There is zero chance of the majority party fixing an investigation to their disfavor, so it seems that the Trump administration would have a vested interest in allowing the investigations to go forward and alleviate the cloud of suspicion.

It's almost like maybe they do have something to hide. Huh.

Speaking of which...

Ned Resnikoff at ThinkProgress: Michael Flynn Said to Have Lied to the Pentagon About His Russia Connections.
On the same day former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn rejected a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena by asserting his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee issued a letter saying Flynn misled the Department of Defense in order to cover up links to the Russian government.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote to Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) that the committee "has in our possession documents that appear to indicate that General Flynn lied to investigators who interviewed him in 2016 as part of his security clearance renewal."

Specifically, Flynn allegedly told the Pentagon that he had been paid by "U.S. companies" for a December 2015 trip to Moscow, when in fact he received $45,000 from the Russian state-owned media company RT.

If Flynn did in fact lie to investigators, he could face "up to five years in prison," the New York Times reports.
Chaffetz, meanwhile, has "said he will postpone a hearing scheduled for Wednesday after speaking with former FBI Director James Comey, who had been invited to testify. 'Spoke with Comey. He wants to speak with Special Counsel prior to public testimony. Hearing Wed postponed. @GOPoversight,' Chaffetz tweeted." Hrm.

Trump, for his part, is busily lawyering up. Welp.

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