President Donald Trump "should give a straight yes or no" answer about whether there are really recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday.
"This is an issue that the president should have cleared up in his press conference," the Maine Republican told CNN's "State of the Union" program.
The president, after firing Comey, tweeted on May 12 that the former FBI director "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press," but has not said since then if such tapes really exist.
If there really are tapes, Trump should hand copies to the Senate Intelligence Committee and to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is conducting the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Further, Collins said that a subpoena should not be necessary.
"I don't understand why the president just doesn't clear this matter up once and for all," Collins said. If that doesn't happen, she said she'd be "fine with issuing a subpoena, but that would most likely come from the special counsel's office."
Trump said that he would be willing to testify under oath, and Collins said he should fully cooperate with the special counsel in the case.
"We have to keep in mind that the focus of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation is to the extent of Russian influence on our elections last fall, and whether or not there was collusion, collaboration, cooperation between the Russians and members of President Trump's campaign team," said Collins. "They are two different investigations with two different emphasis under way right now. Both are critical. Both are really important to our country."
However, Collins said she'd be comfortable if Trump talked only to Mueller, but it would depend on the special counsel whether to release video of the taped testimony and it would be "unusual" if that happened.
"We all want to know all of the information, but keep in mind, that his job is to determine whether or not there are any violations of criminal laws, and he wants to make sure that he has all the evidence put together, rather than releasing it in a piecemeal basis," the senator said.
Meanwhile, Collins said she found Comey's testimony candid and thorough, and she does believe that he believes the information that was given was what happened.
"That doesn't eliminate the possibility that there was a misinterpretation," said Collins, but she does not understand why Comey did not tell Trump it was inappropriate for him to hope that Comey would let go of the investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.