Rep. Chris Collins: Trump Was Trying To Protect Flynn As A Friend, Not Stop An Investigation

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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GOP Rep. Chris Collins of New York said he believes President Donald Trump wasn’t asking then-FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Rather, he was acting out of loyalty to protect his friend from further public scrutiny.

Comey, who the president fired May 9, is set to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Thursday. In his written testimony, he alleges Trump said, “‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Collins said he had not yet read all of Comey’s testimony, but he is confident from the quote he saw that there was no obstruction of justice. The New York Republican argued Flynn — who stepped down from his role after it was revealed he mislead Vice President Mike Pence on conversations he had with Russian officials — paid the “the ultimate price” due to unmasking by “President Obama and his dirtbag administration.”

“My comment would be, given how Trump views loyalty — and I would like to think I’m much of the same — you watch out for people who watch out for you, and that’s just what we do as human beings,” he told reporters Wednesday. “And when someone in this unfortunate situation because of inappropriate and illegal behavior by the Obama administration started this pyramiding that ended up in Flynn resigning — my comment would be, ‘Isn’t that enough?'”

According to Collins, the timeline of Trump’s conservation with Comey doesn’t align with allegations he was looking to prevent an investigation from taking place.

A lot of people would say — and someone as loyal as Trump is — would say, ‘Let’s not pile on here. He’s resigned. He’s embarrassed. He’s done at this point,” he continued, adding the discussion happened in February before additional information came out following Flynn’s resignation. “It would be a normal thing to say ‘Leave him alone, he’s a good guy,’ and I believe Comey said he is a good guy. And Trump said, ‘Can’t we be done this?’ So this wasn’t some official investigation asking him to stop, and Comey’s confirmed it.”

Collins said the president is undergoing “a political witch hunt,” and someone from the Obama administration should be in jail for unmasking Flynn.

It is clearly not anywhere close to touching something called obstruction of justice,” he said. “And I’m frankly proud of him for standing up for someone who was as loyal as Mike Flynn was throughout the campaign.”

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