The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee pushed back Tuesday night against a New York Times report that suggested President Donald Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to shut down an investigation into embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying “somebody is going to have to do more than just have anonymous sources on this one for me to believe that there’s something there.”
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins and a small group of reporters that “the director of the FBI shared more information with Mr. Warner and myself than any director has ever shared.”
Listen to Burr’s comments to PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins.
“I think something as material as that, probably would have been something he would have shared, had it happened,” Burr said. “But, given that we were the last to meet with him before his departure, the last thing I think Director Comey was thinking about Monday afternoon at 4 o’clock when we met with him was that the next day he was going to get fired.”
The Times attributed the information to a memo created by Comey while still in charge of the agency, something it said he routinely did to document his conversations with Trump. An associate of Trump’s read parts of the memo to the Times on the phone.
The story came a day after a separate report from The Washington Post suggested Trump had shared highly-classified intelligence about ISIS with Russian officials during a White House meeting last week. The intelligence was given to the U.S. by an ally that had not given permission to share the information.
Trump defended his actions in a set of tweets Tuesday morning, saying he shared information for “humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer called unauthorized leaking of classified information “frankly dangerous” in a briefing with reporters later in the day.
Burr said the burden of proof, in this case, is on the New York Times. “If they’re reporting it, and they’ve got somebody who has got the document, they need to get the document and get it released.”
Meanwhile, House oversight chairman Jason Chaffetz tweeted he “is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists. I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.”