You know the end is near when even your allies in congress won’t put up a fight in your defense.
Early this evening, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) declined an opportunity to stand-up to the onslaught of criticism coming from every direction today over the bombshell New York Times report that President Trump tried to get FBI Director James Comey to shut down his investigation into Michael Flynn.
Asked for comment about the House Oversight Committee’s statement that it would seek a subpoena to see documents related to the Times story, AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Speaker Ryan, said simply that the Speaker believes, “We need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo.”
The ‘memo’ is the memorandum The Times cited as the basis of their story, written by Comey immediately after his February Oval Office meeting with President Trump – the day after Michael Flynn resigned – and distributed to senior FBI officials. In it, Comey described how the President asked him to ‘let this go,’ in reference to the Flynn investigation. Trump also asked Comey if he could jail journalists who published leaked information.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, tweeted earlier in the day that he was ready to issue a subpoena to see the memo.
.@GOPoversight 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.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 16, 2017
Just this evening, Rep. Chaffetz made public a letter from the House Oversight Committee to Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, formally asking the FBI to pursue a subpoena for the memos and any other documents pertaining to today’s New York Times story.
Speaker Ryan’s tepid response – through a spokesperson, no less – is the surest sign yet that congressional Republican support is fading fast. And that’s bad news for Trump, because the GOP controlled congress is the only thing standing between him and impeachment.
Consider Ryan’s limp defense on the subpoena issue the first crack in the dam.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.