A startling Thursday night report from the New York Times outlines how President Donald Trump tried to pressure top Republican lawmakers in the US Senate to end the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia.
“It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,’” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the committee’s chairman, said to the Times.
Trump reportedly called Burr’s congressional colleagues to secure assistance in pushing Burr to end the investigation. The president also urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) to “swiftly” bring the probe to an end.
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An unnamed Republican lawmaker says Trump called him to suggest he investigate Hillary Clinton and her ties to Fusion GPS, which had a role in compiling the dossier on Trump.
White House spokesperson Raj Shah said Trump “at no point has attempted to apply undue influence on committee members.”
But Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a former chairwoman of the intelligence committee, said Trump’s behavior is a breach of the separation of powers.
“It is pressure that should never be brought to bear by an official when the legislative branch is in the process of an investigation,” she said.