Ryan Vows To Gather The Facts, But Insists People ‘Want To Harm’ Trump

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., pauses to answers question from reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 6, 2017, regarding the announcement that Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., will temporarily step side from the panel's investigation of Russian meddling in the election because of the complaints. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Wednesday that he supported “gathering the facts” with respect to President Donald Trump, while making it known that he believes “there are some people out there who want to harm the President.”

In his weekly press conference, Ryan was asked whether he thought that Trump was trying to “influence or intimidate” then-FBI Director James Comey when he allegedly asked Comey to quash an investigation into Michael Flynn, the day after the former national security adviser had been fired. Comey took down their conversation in a memo at the time, according to the New York Times.

“Do you still have the same level of confidence in President Trump that you had on Inauguration Day?” a reporter asked Ryan.

“Let me tell you what I told our members just this morning: We need the facts,” the House speaker said. “It is obvious that 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. And that means, before rushing to judgment, we get all the pertinent information.”

Ryan noted that the House Oversight Committee already had requested Comey’s memo.

“And I’m sure we’re going to want to hear from Mr. Comey about why, if this happened as he allegedly describes, why he didn’t take action at the time,” he continued. “So there are a lot of unanswered questions. What I told our members is, now is the time to gather all the pertinent information. Our job is to be responsible, sober and focus only on gathering the facts.”

A reporter asked Ryan if he thought Comey should testify before Congress in an open hearing.

“I will leave it to the committees that are doing these investigations,” Ryan said, noting that there were investigations ongoing in the House, Senate and FBI, and that he would not “micromanage” them.

“The point is this,” he said. “We can’t deal with speculation and innuendo, and there is clearly a lot of politics being played. Our job is to get the facts and t0 be sober about doing that.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK