House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday Republicans need to gather more facts on reports President Donald Trump asked the FBI to stop investigating Michael Flynn, but they need to take their oversight responsibilities seriously, even if a Republican is in the White House.
Ryan’s comments follow a New York Times report published Tuesday on a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey alleging the president asked him to end the Flynn investigation. Flynn resigned earlier this year after it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding a call with the Russian ambassador. Trump recently fired Comey.
“We should take our oversight responsibilities seriously regardless of who is in power,” Ryan told members, according to a source inside the room at a House Republican conference meeting. “That means before leaping to judgment we get all the facts. OGR has requested documents. And we’ll see where the facts lead.”
Following the meeting, Ryan told reporters he still has confidence in the administration but remains cautious of “rushing to judgment” on the matter.
“It is obvious that there are some people out there who want to harm the President. But we have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House. And that means, before rushing to judgment, we get all the pertinent information.”
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz confirmed he will subpoena the Comey memo if necessary Tuesday.
Ryan noted the House, Senate and FBI are all conducting investigations into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election, adding it is up to the committees to decide whether Comey should publically tesitfy.
“I’m sure we’re going to want to hear from Mr. Comey about why, if this happened as he allegedly describes, why he didn’t take action at the time,” Ryan continued. “So there are a lot of unanswered questions. What I told our members is, now is the time to gather all the pertinent information. Our job is to be responsible, sober and focus only on gathering the facts.”
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