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Illinois Lawmakers React To Comey Memo & 'Reckless' Trump Intelligence Leak

By aaroncynic in News on May 17, 2017 3:30PM

James Comey, via Getty Images
Several Illinois politicians reiterated their calls for special prosecutors and investigations of President Donald Trump in the wake of the latest in what seems like a never-ending parade of scandals that have embroiled the administration.

On Monday, the Washington Post revealed that Trump shared classified intelligence with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador to the U.S. in a White House meeting last week. As Trump and other administration officials scrambled to find ways to convince the American people that this was not only not a big deal, but completely within the President’s right, associates of now-fired FBI Director James Comey revealed the alleged existence of a memo to the New York Times written by the former Director saying that Trump asked him to shut down the agency’s investigation into possible ties to and election tampering with the Russian government.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” the president allegedly told Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Senator Dick Durbin said the revelation “crosses the line” and asked when Republicans would join the chorus of Democrats demanding special investigations

“Evidence that President Trump asked FBI Director Comey to stop the investigation of his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, appears to cross the line into the obstruction of justice,” said Durbin in a statement. “No one—not the National Security Advisor or the President—is above the law.”

Durbin’s statement came just after he released a Facebook video of him speaking on the Senate floor, calling Trump’s disclosure of classified information to the Russians “reckless.”

“President Trump should have been telling the Russians never to interfere in our elections or democracy again or face the consequences, not trying to ingratiate himself with the Russians by bragging about highly classified national security secrets,” said Durbin. “Failure to act would be an abdication of the majority party’s responsibility to address an attack by a foreign power on our nation and investigate possible collusion by an erratic and deceptive White House.”

Durbin’s colleague in the Senate, Tammy Duckworth, released a video of her own on Twitter, also referring to the President’s behavior as “reckless” and calling it an “insult” to the intelligence community.

“It’s a serious threat to our national security - to the safety of our families and our troops abroad,” said Duckworth. “It’s even more stunning when you consider how much the President complained about leaks.”

On Comey, Duckworth quipped that she “eagerly awaits” an explaination.

House Rep. Jan Schakowsky said the need for a special prosecutor grows every day and also called on her Republican colleagues to step up and demand a special investigation.

“The need for further investigation is now undeniable,” Schakowsky said in a statement emailed to Chicagoist. “My Republican colleagues can no longer dismiss the irresponsible and unethical behavior of President Trump. We need a full independent investigation, and history will not look kindly on those who sat idle while our democratic institutions were threatened.”

Despite some Republicans expressing “concerns” over Trump’s behavior, only a small handful have indicated they might support an independent investigation. Among them is now Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who told CNN Wednesday morning that he is now open to an independent commission or special prosecutor to investigate potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"I think it is time we do whatever is necessary that when this is over, we give the American people the confidence that justice, either way it goes, has been served," Kinzinger told CNN.

Kinzinger said while he hasn’t lost faith in investigations by Congressional committees and that they should continue, the memo raises serious “red flags.”

“When we begin to see memos...when we begin to hear things about the potential of asking the FBI Director to stop an investigation—this has raised real red flags in the level of seriousness,” said Kingzinger.