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The House Oversight Committee is inviting Comey to testify

19 May 2017

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Also Wednesday, in an extraordinary turn of events, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to turn over to Congress records of Trump's discussions with the diplomats. For the good of democracy, don't you see, the Republicans must not only be kicked to the curb in the 2018 midterms, but the president himself must be thrown into the street, just like he once tried to evict that old lady from her house in Atlantic City!

Trump's rattled staff kept close tabs on a meeting early on Monday in which the president summoned Spicer; the deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders; and the communications director, Michael Dubke, to lecture them on the need "to get on the same page", according to a person briefed on the meeting.

However, the White House quickly denied the New York Times report, claiming it is "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey".

What we do know is that, ahead of the trip, Trump is in a defensive posture - and he has resorted to grievance politics. "It is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president and that means before rushing to judgment we (must) get all the pertinent information", Efe news agency quoted Paul Ryan as saying on Wednesday.

Trump left the White House on Wednesday morning to head to CT where he was scheduled to give the commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy.

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But the memo documenting Comey's February meeting with the president that prompted that invitation may not be the only memo that exists.

Grassley and fellow members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee sent a letter to the FBI requesting any documentation of any interaction between Comey and Trump and his top Justice Department officials about the probe of Russian interference, as well as the investigation into the Clinton e-mails.

John McCain, chairperson of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said late on Tuesday that the developments had reached "Watergate size and scale".

Republican Senator Pat Toomey wants a Democrat to be nominated to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation because "changes are needed at the White House", a spokesman said, according to the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". The existence of the memo was first reported on Tuesday by The New York Times.

While the publication briefly touched on the "investigation into possible collusion between Mr. Trump's associates and Russian operatives to sway the presidential election", the report zeroed in on the former national security advisor's "work...for Inovo BV, a Dutch company".

Indeed, as US president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that such disclosures broke the law.

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Trump is leaving today for his first foreign trip, to the Mideast and beyond, and aides had hoped the disarray at home would have been calmed if not resolved by take-off time.

Congressional investigators have for the most part declined to use one of their most forceful tools - the power of subpoena - to request documents from the White House. "Memos, transcripts, tapes - the list keeps getting longer", he said.

Trump also changed his story once again about the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing, returning again to the White House's original rationale that he based his decision on Rosenstein's recommendation.

Trump removed Comey in the middle of a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged Russian interference in the the 2016 United States presidential election, and possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russia.

The newspaper said Comey was in the Oval Office that day with other national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing.

It would be significant if more Republicans began to talk about impeaching the president, as the party holds a majority in both chambers of Congress.

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