Trump Has Now Urged Seven Officials to Help End the Russia Probes

President Donald Trump has pushed at least seven officials to put an end to investigations at various levels of government into whether his campaign helped Russia meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

On Thursday The New York Times revealed that over the summer Trump urged members of the Senate—including those leading the Senate Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation—to wrap up their investigations.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, Republican Richard Burr, said in an interview that Trump made a request “something along the lines of ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible.’”

12_01_Trump President Donald Trump speaks with reporters at the White House on November 28. The president has reportedly asked several officials to end the Russia investigations as soon as possible. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

However, a Republican senator who spoke to Burr told the Times that Trump had been “very forceful” in conversations with Burr. Another senator, who also remained anonymous, told the paper Trump called other congressional members, asking them to lean on Burr to end the investigation.

Burr said other members of his committee told him of similar calls they received from Trump but said he didn’t feel pressured to end the probe, chalking up the president’s actions to inexperience.

According to lawmakers and aides, Trump also approached Republican Senator Roy Blunt, who sits on the committee, and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, with requests to end the investigations quickly.

Related: Has Michael Flynn flipped? Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team reportedly met with his lawyer

The news brings to seven the total number of officials Trump has asked to help end the multiple investigations moving forward in both branches of Congress and the Department of Justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is pushing ahead with his investigation of whether Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading one of the investigations.

Congress started its investigation early this year after key American intelligence agencies compiled a report that found Russia worked to undermine Trump’s campaign rival Hillary Clinton and assist his campaign.

The latest news is a “huge story,” wrote attorney Norm Eisen on Twitter Thursday because it “corroborates a corrupt motive” for Trump’s firing of Comey on May 9.

Eisen, a former White House special counsel for ethics and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, published a report in October arguing that Trump obstructed justice by attempting to intervene in the investigations.

In a letter written by Comey ahead of his testimony to Burr’s committee in June, he wrote that Trump had pressured him on several occasions to end the part of the investigation examining former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Writing about a rare private meeting between the president and his top law enforcement official in February, Comey said Trump tried to pressure him into “letting Flynn go.” The request came after Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about contact he had had with the Russian ambassador. Trump made a similar request to him in a phone call, Comey said.

During closed testimony before Burr’s committee and in separate interviews with Mueller’s legal team in June, two top Trump administration intelligence officials said the president approached them to defend him publicly against the investigations, multiple sources told CNN.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said Trump asked them to state publicly that his campaign did not work with Russia to interfere in the election. A report by The Wall Street Journal in June cited sources who said Trump also called Rogers to state publicly that there is no evidence his campaign colluded with Russia.

Officials who spoke with The Washington Post in June said that Trump applied pressure to CIA Director Mike Pompeo in March when he kept Pompeo and Coats behind after a meeting to complain about Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation. Coats reportedly told other officials that Trump had asked for an intervention. It is not known whether Trump asked Pompeo directly to intervene.

Trump’s request came after Comey testified before Congress that the FBI was investigating whether Trump’s campaign worked with Russia during the election campaign.

“Who believes at this point he didn’t obstruct justice?” former Department of Justice public affairs director Matthew Miller‏ wrote on Twitter Thursday.

“Pressuring senators to end an investigation that impacts him & those close to him could be further evidence of obstruction of justice by the President,” wrote Noah Bookbinder‏, an attorney who co-wrote the report with Eisen, on Thursday. He called Trump’s behavior “part of a pattern of conduct.”

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