House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday warned against “rushing to judgment” over embattled President Donald Trump, stressing that US lawmakers need to establish the facts before considering next steps.
Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said that while he has confidence in Trump, he wants members to dutifully exercise their role as congressional investigators.
“We need the facts,” Ryan told reporters after Republicans huddled on Capitol Hill following explosive reports that Trump shared intelligence secrets with Russian officials, and that he pressured the director of the FBI to drop an ongoing investigation.
“It is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president. But we have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House,” Ryan added.
“And that means, before rushing to judgment, we get all the pertinent information.”
Citing unnamed sources, The Washington Post reported that Trump had shared highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regarding an Islamic State group terror threat.
The New York Times reported that before firing FBI chief James Comey, Trump asked him to drop an investigation into his national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Democrats have seized on the reports to bolster their claims that Trump is unfit to serve in the Oval Office.
Ryan declined to wade into whether Trump obstructed justice — a crime under US law.
“We can’t deal with speculation and innuendo, and there’s clearly politics being played. Our job is to get the facts and be sober about doing that,” he said.
Several Republicans took a similar approach Wednesday, but others called for Comey to testify and to produce the memo he reportedly wrote detailing his discussion with Trump about the Flynn investigation.
“I hope director Comey will come before Congress, under oath,” House Republican Tom Cole said of Comey. “If he’s got a charge to make, he needs to make it.”