The New York Times reported Thursday that President Trump implored Senate Republicans to end their Russia investigation numerous times over the summer, even approaching the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Trump indicated to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who chairs the intelligence committee, that he wanted to see the investigation come to an end.
“It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,’” Mr. Burr said. He said he replied to Mr. Trump that “when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish.”
Lawmakers and aides told the Times that Trump also told Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MS) to end the investigation in a timely manner.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said pressure from the president on such matters is highly inappropriate, but White House spokesman Raj Shah disagreed, saying:
[Trump] “at no point has attempted to apply undue influence on committee members’’ and believes “there is no evidence of collusion and these investigations must come to a fair and appropriate completion.’’
Most congressmen the Times spoke with were not alarmed by the president's intrusion, in part because they felt he was still learning the ropes in Washington.
Mr. Burr said Mr. Trump was not fully aware of the impropriety of his request because the president still has the mind-set of a businessman rather than a politician. “Businessmen are paid to skip things that they think they can skip and get away with,” he said.