United States institutions 'under assault' from Trump: former spymaster

And while 61% of respondents said Trump's decision did not change their opinion of the president, 30% of respondents said they had a less favorable impression of Trump now, versus just 6% who said they had a more favorable view. "If there's tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over". The FBI has never had a female director. Graham said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press". Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel or another committee would "absolutely" subpoena the tapes.

"If, in fact, there are such recordings, I think those recordings will be subpoenaed and they will probably have to turn them over", said Lee. And while he had no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump team, Graham said, "the president needs to back off and let the investigation go forward".

"I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally - and that's the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system", said James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.

"We have got to make sure that these tapes, if they exist, don't mysteriously disappear", he said.

Though the White House initially said that Comey's removal had nothing to do with the Russian Federation investigation, Trump later told NBC News' Lester Holt that the investigation was a factor in his decision. "And, I think, as well our institutions are under assault internally", Clapper said.

The New York Times reported the president asked Comey in January to pledge loyalty to him and that Comey refused to do so.

Senator Mike Lee, a conservative Republican and also a member of the Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that it was "probably inevitable" that any tapes would have to be turned over.

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Most Iranians have yet to see the benefits of the nuclear deal. "Qalibaf's votes will be divided between Rouhani and Raisi". Raisi thanked Qalibaf for his support, calling it a "revolutionary act", according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Lee made a counterintuitive suggestion meant to draw bipartisan support: Merrick Garland, the judge nominated past year by former president Barack Obama to the Supreme Court but never given a hearing by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Comey was invited to speak before the committee in a closed session Tuesday, but Warner told CNN on Friday that he declined the invitation.

CNN said Comey is "not anxious about any tapes" Trump may have, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

"To fire him mid-investigation, boy oh boy, that raises a lot of questions", Warner said.

The FBI director serves a 10-year term but can be replaced by the president. Such a request would undermine the standing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief as an independent law enforcer and further fueled charges that Trump has overstepped the norms of his office.

Almost two thirds of Republicans said they believed the Trump administration's (first) stated rationale for firing Comey that it was in response to the way the FBI director had mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

Initial contenders for the job, according to a person familiar with the matter, included Cornyn, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Justice Department official Alice Fisher, and Michael Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.

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