What's obstruction of justice and does Comey memo on Flynn prove it?

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The twin scandals have forced the White House into damage limitation mode as congressional Republicans demand further investigations. Deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein said, "In my capacity as acting attorney general, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter". But we have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House'.

Officials have told Reuters Trump's alleged disclosure of classified information to Russia's foreign minister is unlikely to stop allies who share intelligence with Washington from cooperating.

At a time when relations with Russian Federation are already under intense scrutiny, Mr Putin said he was prepared to help.

Trump is facing the deepest crisis of his presidency after reports Tuesday about Comey's memo. "This relationship w/ the USA is unprecedented in its contribution to our strength".

The comments are the latest addition to a growing list of White House rationale for Mr Comey's firing. It is the kind of conversation that seems completely in character for Trump, who, over the course of the campaign and now in office, has betrayed no - zero - understanding of the necessary separation of the president and his Justice Department when it comes to making independent judgments about political matters and political opponents.

It's far too soon to make a definitive judgment about whether any laws have been broken in connection with the president's contacts with James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director he fired a week ago.

According to reporting by the New York Times, Comey wrote the exchange in a memo immediately after his meeting, the day after Flynn resigned.

In the memo, which ABC News has not seen, Comey wrote that he was asked by the president to let the Flynn probe go in February. Comey said he replied that "I agree he is a good guy" but said nothing to Trump about limiting the investigation. "They [citizens] deserve an FBI Director that is above reproach". Elijah Cummings, top Democrat on a key House oversight panel, countered that Ryan and the Republicans had shown "zero, zero, zero appetite for any investigation of President Trump". "At worst, he has obstructed justice".

Republicans in Congress are trying to project a business-as-usual approach.

The men were memorably cast - mostly via Comey's 2007 testimony - as honorable men standing against government overreach when they talked former President George W. Bush out of pushing ahead the renewal of a controversial surveillance program. The reality of the situation is that unless Trump voluntarily steps down himself, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell must agree that he must be removed from office, and the Republican majority must pursue impeachment charges.

"The last person Trump needs to vouch for him right now is Vladimir Putin", Schiff said in an interview with CBS News.

"It may work in a business context".

Two members of Congress that Trump had reportedly been considering for the position - Texas Sen.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, put it in simple terms. Aides have said he hopes for a full explanation from the White House.

In the report, Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a friend of Comey's, detailed the comical lengths that Comey went to in order to avoid the President.

Although Mr Trump may welcome a break from the Washington maelstrom, that task looks even harder now.

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