Today on the Hill: New FBI Memo Adds Pressure on White House as Senate Considers DOJ Nominee

The ongoing controversy over President Trump’s firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey reignited last night after The New York Times reported that Comey had reported in an official memorandum that the President asked him to stop investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Moscow. According to FBI notes – which are often considered admissible in court – President Trump spoke to Comey following a national security meeting in February saying “I hope you can let this go” in reference to the FBI’s investigation after the revelation that Flynn had previously unreported work with the Turkish and Russian governments.

The conversation has raised new concerns that the President’s firing of Comey and influence over the Justice Department could constitute obstruction of justice. While the President is given greater legal latitude than private citizens, the latest developments have convinced a few Republicans, such as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-NC), to join Democratic calls for a special prosecutor or independent commission to investigate the Trump White House. Additionally, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has asked the FBI to turn over all of its documents related to meetings between President Trump and Comey.

The breaking news will likely influence floor statements and conversations on Capitol Hill as both chambers attempt to continue business-as-usual. Democrats in the Senate will likely use deliberations on the nomination of Rachel Brand to be Associate Attorney General to speak out on Comey’s dismissal ahead of a cloture vote scheduled this afternoon. Assuming she is confirmed, Brand would fill the third-highest post at the Department of Justice (DOJ), behind Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who have both been entangled in the controversy due to their drafting of memos used as a basis for President Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

The House has 14 measures for consideration under suspension of the rules today, with issues ranging from federal employee protections to foreign affairs. Two of the more consequential measures to be considered today include one bill (H.R. 2227) to modernize government information technology through the creation of a Technology Modernization Fund, and another (H.R. 2266) that would allow for the authorization of additional bankruptcy judges across the country. A complete list of the measures on the House floor today can be found here.