“He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Those words have thrown the White House into chaos, yet again.
They were reportedly said by President Donald Trump to former FBI Director James Comey during a meeting in February. The “good guy” is a reference to then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is under investigation for possible ties with Russia.
According to reporting by the New York Times, Comey wrote the exchange in a memo immediately after his meeting, the day after Flynn resigned. The White House denies the allegation.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel for the investigation into Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election – and any possible ties to the Trump campaign.
In a written statement explaining his decision, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote that “a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.”
Rosenstein, the second-in-command at the Justice Department, wrote that Mueller is “authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.”
In a brief statement following the announcement, Trump wrote: “there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.”
Mueller led the FBI from 2001 to 2013 and will resign from his current job at the law firm WilmerHale to avoid any conflicts of interest.
Meanwhile in Congress, the House Oversight Committee invited Comey to testify on his conversations with the president.
The central question is whether Trump’s reported conversation and statements to Comey constitute an obstruction of justice.
The Department of Justice working under Trump is unlikely to prosecute the president, but Congress can classify an obstruction of justice as a high crime, or impeachable offense.
Joining host Carol Marin to help make sense of these questions are two former Assistant U.S. Attorneys: Patrick Cotter, who served the Eastern District of New York; and Renato Marrioti, who served the Northern District of Illinois.
May 16: The former secretary of state speaks with Chicago Tonight during a one-on-one interview.
May 15: Seventy-eight percent of Americans think a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the U.S. election, according to a new NBC-Wall Street Journal survey.
May 10: A retired former FBI supervisor and two former Assistant U.S. Attorneys share their reactions to the ouster of FBI Director James Comey.