Sunday 18 March 2018

'We must follow the facts where they lead' - Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan. Photo: Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters
House Speaker Paul Ryan. Photo: Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Anna Edgerton

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he still has full confidence in US President Donald Trump but that lawmakers must "follow the facts wherever they lead" as he sought to damp down Republican unease over the turmoil engulfing the White House.

"Now is the time to gather all the pertinent information," Mr Ryan told reporters yesterday after a private meeting of House Republicans.

"Our job is to be responsible, sober and focus only on gathering the facts."

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is scheduled to meet privately with all members of the Senate today to discuss his role in the firing of FBI chief James Comey last week.

Lawmakers of both parties are demanding that Mr Comey testify before them in public, though the time and place haven't been determined.

The Senate Intelligence Committee asked Mr Comey yesterday to testify before the panel in public and in private. It also asked the FBI for any notes or memos written by Mr Comey about his communications with administration officials about the Russia probe.

"It is obvious that there are some people out there that want to harm the president," Mr Ryan told reporters. "But we have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House."

Mr Ryan said lawmakers want to hear from Mr Comey about "why he didn't take action at the time" if his allegation that Mr Trump asked him to stop investigating ex-National Security advisor Michael Flynn is true.

A day before Mr Comey's meeting with Trump, Mr Flynn had been ousted for what the White House said were misleading accounts of his conversations with Russia's US ambassador.

Republicans in Congress are trying to project a business-as-usual approach. At their news conference, Mr Ryan and other House Republican leaders talked about their plans to overhaul the tax code before reporters raised questions about the controversies. "We're going to keep doing our jobs, we're going to keep passing our bills, we're going to keep advancing our reforms," Mr Ryan said.

Irish Independent

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