Tags: Donald Trump | Russia Probe | Trump Administration | senate | gop | intelligence | committee

NYT: Trump 'Repeatedly' Lobbied GOP Leaders to End Russia Probe

Image: NYT: Trump 'Repeatedly' Lobbied GOP Leaders to End Russia Probe
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. (Ron Sachs/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 30 November 2017 10:09 PM

President Donald Trump "repeatedly" lobbied the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and other top Republican senators this summer to end the panel's Russia investigation, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The report is based on "a half dozen lawmakers and aides."

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican committee chairman, told the Times this week that Trump had said he would like for the panel's inquiry to end soon.

"It was something along the lines of, 'I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,'" Burr said.

He said he told Trump that "when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish."

Trump also pressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republican Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, who also sits on the intelligence panel, to end the Moscow meddling probe soon, the Times reports.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a one of the committee's top Democrats, told the Times that Trump's requests were "inappropriate" and smacked of breaching the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.

"It is pressure that should never be brought to bear by an official when the legislative branch is in the process of an investigation," Feinstein said.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, denied Thursday that Trump had not improperly.

The president, he told the Times, "at no point has attempted to apply undue influence on committee members."

Trump also believes "there is no evidence of collusion — and these investigations must come to a fair and appropriate completion."

Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's interference in last year's election, as well as whether Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey last May.

Burr told the Times that he did not feel pressured by Trump's approach, saying it reflected the actions of an individual who has "never been in government."

He did, however, acknowledge that other committee members have had similar discussions with the president.

"Everybody has promptly shared any conversations that they’ve had," Burr told the Times.

Blunt told the chairman that Trump lobbied him in August aboard Air Force One as they flew to Springfield, Mo.

Trump suggested to Blunt that the committee "wrap up this investigation," a Republican official "familiar with the conversation" told the Times.

Blunt, however, was not troubled by Trump's efforts, as he did not consider them having a "sinister motive," the official said.

Both Burr and Blunt have since "taken steps to limit their interaction" with Trump this year, the Times reports.

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North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican committee chairman, told The New York Times this week that President Donald Trump had said he would like for the panel's inquiry to end soon.
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2017-09-30
Thursday, 30 November 2017 10:09 PM
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