Alarm spreads among Hill Republicans over Comey scandal

Republicans are worried, even panicked, about their scandal-plagued boss and what it could meant for a GOP agenda.

Anxiety and dismay widespread via a ranks of Capitol Hill Republicans on Wednesday as lawmakers reckoned with a fallout from a James Comey liaison and a repairs it could means to President Donald Trump and their possess agenda.

Republicans fast separate into factions — from fortifying Trump and blaming a media on one end, to job for a special prosecutor and even lifting a ghost of impeachment on a other — as they responded to news that Trump allegedly pressured a former FBI executive to dump a agency’s review of Trump’s ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Many others demanded that Comey attest and spin over private memos documenting his conversations with Trump.

Story Continued Below

Privately, Republicans are seemingly unsettled and even panicked over what a enlarged liaison could meant for their bulletin and hold on power. Some consternation if Trump will still be boss subsequent year, while others are undone that a White House hasn’t finished some-more repairs control. Chatter has begun about what a President Mike Pence competence demeanour like.

And many lawmakers don’t wish to urge Trump publicly since they don’t know what deleterious explanation will come next.

“Things are tough now, we all know that,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pronounced of a mood on Capitol Hill. “What do we consider this is, a fun ride?”

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and celebration leaders seem mostly to be personification for time, and perplexing to yield domestic cover for their rank-and-file. Ryan pronounced he would haven visualisation until a contribution are out, nonetheless that Congress should find out those facts. He’s subsidy House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s bid to have Comey seem before his panel, one of during slightest 3 committees seeking to hear directly from a ex-FBI director. Chaffetz called a May 24 discussion with Comey, nonetheless a Oversight authority hasn’t nonetheless connected with him.

More than a half-dozen Republicans — including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — are fasten Democrats in job for a appointment of a special prosecutor or eccentric elect to examine a Trump-Comey interactions, as good as a purported ties between a Trump debate and Russian officials. Another confederation is open to such a pierce if some-more deleterious information emerges. Murkowski pronounced Wednesday that “it might be that we need to look” to a eccentric avenues to examine a matter.

Trump backers — a tiny nonetheless outspoken organisation — repudiate a boss did anything wrong. They censure a media, a “deep state” and Democrats for a president’s problems.

And slightest 3 House Republicans — Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), and Walter Jones (N.C.) — have warned that a allegations opposite Trump, if true, could consecrate deterrent of probity and an impeachable offense. Sen. John McCain compared Trump’s conditions to Watergate.

“I consider it could be” impeachable, Jones told POLITICO. “We have to see where a justification goes. If a justification proves — and there has to be a explanation — that there is reason for a contention on impeachment, afterwards it needs to happen… If we don’t strengthen a law and urge a truth, afterwards there’s no hope…. This has substantially been a 4 months that we have felt like my republic is upside down.”

Multiple Republicans pronounced there’s been a tangible mood change inside a GOP, as lawmakers worry that a Trump implosion could mutilate their possess careers.

“If what a [New York Times] reported is true, Pence is substantially rehearsing,” pronounced one House Republican. “It’s only like Nixon. From a standpoint that it’s never a underlying issue, it is always a cover-up. It’s this denial. This whole thought that if he did tell Comey to stop a review and afterwards after fires Comey, it’s tough not to make a unsentimental box of obstruction.”

During a closed-door discussion House GOP assembly on Wednesday, Ryan attempted to enclose a domestic fallout by propelling members to equivocate a rush to judgment. Ryan told reporters after a event that there are many “unanswered questions,” and that he won’t make adult his possess mind formed on “speculation and innuendo.”

“We need a facts,” Ryan said. “It is apparent that there are some people who wish to mistreat a president. But we have an requirement to lift out a slip regardless of that celebration is in a White House.”

Many Republicans took his advice, possibly dodging questions from reporters or perplexing to downplay a stream impact of a liaison in their open comments.

“There’s a lot of talk, there’s a lot of stating going on,” pronounced Rep. Steve Womack (R-Arik.). “We need a facts. That was a summary and we consider it’s a reasonable and advantageous summary from leadership. There is a bent to respond to surmise and give opinions on ‘what if.’ And I’m not certain that’s unequivocally constructive.”

Added Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas: “I’m not going to strech a end formed on news stories. We need to control a slip and review and prove ourselves as to what a contribution are.”

At a same time, though, a flourishing carol of congressional Republicans is job for Comey to attest before Congress about his interactions with Trump — including possibly Trump attempted to hinder a rapist examine of Flynn’s connectors with Russia.

Chaffetz has asked a FBI to spin over any annals it has on a Trump-Comey interactions. Chaffetz also wants Comey to seem before his row and pronounced he will summons Comey if necessary.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is also seeking a FBI and White House to spin over any papers they have on Trump and Comey.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pronounced in an talk that if Comey doesn’t palm over his records on his conversations with Trump, they should be subpoenaed.

“We need to see a memo,” Rubio said. “We need to have Comey come in and testify.”

More Republicans also seemed open to appointing a special prosecutor or eccentric elect to examine a ties between a Trump debate and Russian officials.

“I consider it’s time that we demeanour during a thought of an eccentric elect or special prosecutor. I’m not certain a best venue,” Kinzinger told CNN. “But we consider it’s time that we do whatever is required that when this is over, we give people certainty that possibly way, possibly approach it goes, probity has been served.”

Still, a series of Republicans are fluttering off allegations that Trump attempted to stop a FBI’s Flynn examine afterwards dismissed Comey over a issue. His many fervent defenders in a celebration explain it’s all scuttle-butt and there’s explanation nonetheless that Trump did anything improper.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a many comparison GOP senator, pronounced he believes a whole account is “overblown” and he wants to put a Comey memos story “to bed.” He does not trust that Comey should be hauled in front of Congress for open testimony.

“It’s adult to them to establish how they wish to do it. we never impose,” Hatch pronounced of a White House in an interview. Asked if he believed Comey should testify, Hatch pennyless with some of his colleagues: “Not particularly. we consider it’s overblown.”

“It’s scuttle-butt so far,” combined Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.). “For all we know, nobody’s seen a memo… Also it’s Comey essay a memo from a conversation, so it’s a lot of hearsay.”

Loudermilk also argued that there’s “nothing bootleg about” anything that’s been reported. Asked if it constitutes deterrent of probity he said: “No…. That’s not domestic vigour being put on someone. That’s an opinion being expressed.”

John Bresnahan, Austin Wright and Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail