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Angus King Tempers Trump Impeachment Comment

J. Scott Applewhite
Associated Press/file
Sen. Angus King and other senators head to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 29, 2016 to vote as a rescue package for debt-stricken Puerto Rico.

U.S. Sen. Angus King says more information is needed about an explosive report alleging that President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation into his former national security advisor, Mike Flynn.

King told Maine reporters during a conference call Tuesday that the allegations in the New York Times report are a “very serious matter,” as are its implications: That the president attempted to obstruct a federal investigation.

According to the Times report, Comey drafted a memo shortly after a February meeting with the president and just two days after Flynn was ousted. The Times reported that it does not have the memo but was read excerpts of it by unnamed sources. According to the report, Comey drafted the memo because he wanted to create a paper trail to document what he believed were inappropriate attempts by Trump to influence or end the investigation.

Comey was fired by the president last week.

In an interview with CNN, King suggested that Trump could face impeachment if it’s true he obstructed the FBI investigation.

“If these allegations, Senator, are true, are we getting closer and closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment process?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked King.

“Reluctantly, Wolf, I have to say yes, simply because obstruction of justice is such a serious offense,” King said. “And I say it with sadness and reluctance. This is not something that I’ve advocated for. The word has not passed my lips in these tumultuous three or more months.”

During the conference call, King suggested that questions about impeachment are premature. He said he expected that Comey will testify before either the Senate Judiciary or Senate Intelligence Committee in the near future.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.