All of former FBI Director James Comey’s written notes regarding his meetings with President Donald Trump should be turned over to Congress, Sen. Ben Sasse said Wednesday morning, as should any recordings the White House may have of their interactions.
The presence of such notes came to light Tuesday evening in a New York Times report, which detailed a memo Comey wrote after a February meeting with the president in which he allegedly asked the former FBI director to abandon the bureau’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The White House has denied that the conversation ever took place.
“So I want to hold out skepticism about all that we don’t know. But just the fundamental alleged facts in there, it’s obviously inappropriate for any president to be trying to interfere with an investigation,” Sasse told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in a Wednesday morning interview. “So there’s a lot here that’s really scary.”
Sasse, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee, said he made three separate visits on Wednesday to a secure compartmented information facility to view sensitive materials. He told Hewitt that he is currently “trying to organize how I think about what we should be asking for in what order” but that “fundamentally,” all of Comey’s notes as well as “any and all tapes that exist in the White House” should be given to Congress.
While the presence of Comey’s contemporaneous memos has been reported not just by the Times but by multiple other media outlets as well, the only indication that there might be tape recordings of their meetings came from the president himself, who hinted in a post to Twitter that the former director should think twice about speaking to the media, lest “tapes” of their conversations come out.
Sasse was also careful to sound a note of caution amid the swirling controversy surrounding the president and was critical of his Capitol Hill colleagues, some of whom have eagerly appeared on television in the wake of Tuesday’s Times report.
“You saw a bunch of people, both parties, frankly, sprint to the cameras last night to try to comment on things that we don’t often know much about,” Sasse said. “In the same way that you shouldn’t try to govern America tweet storm to tweet storm, you shouldn’t try to exercise oversight in America hot take to hot take.”