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Trump Democrats escalate calls for inquiry, with Republicans more reserved

A spokeswoman for the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, called it “appropriate” for Chaffetz’s committee to demand the memo

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Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, talks to reporters at the White House in Washington, May 15, 2017. President Donald Trump revealed highly classified intelligence about an Islamic State plot, according to officials, in a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,” McMaster said about the issue. play

Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, talks to reporters at the White House in Washington, May 15, 2017. President Donald Trump revealed highly classified intelligence about an Islamic State plot, according to officials, in a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,” McMaster said about the issue.

(Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Members of Congress from both parties escalated calls Tuesday for former FBI Director James B. Comey to appear before them after reports that President Donald Trump had asked him to drop an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser.

Democrats were aggressive in seeking new hearings and an independent investigation. Republicans, on the whole, reserved judgment until they learned more or heard from Comey himself.

The country is being tested in unprecedented ways,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader.

The news of Comey’s memo — on the same day Israel was identified as the source of the sensitive intelligence Trump gave to Russian officials — added another layer of chaos and uncertainty on Capitol Hill, diverting attention from debates on health care and tax policy and increasing many lawmakers’ reservations about the president.

Some Republicans put the burden on Comey to produce proof. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, vowed to obtain a memo Comey wrote in which he said Trump had made his request on the Flynn investigation during a meeting in February.

“I need to see it sooner rather than later,” Chaffetz, who recently announced he was leaving Congress, said on Twitter. “I have my subpoena pen ready.” A spokeswoman for the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, called it “appropriate” for Chaffetz’s committee to demand the memo.

Lawmakers in both parties were largely confounded by the latest controversy, one in a series of crises that have hobbled their ability to move forward with Trump’s policy priorities.

As the day began, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who had been mostly silent on the president’s increasing troubles concerning Russia, carefully pleaded with the administration to stop impeding the Republican agenda. But even as he tried to change the conversation to health care, the focus remained firmly on the president and Russia.

“I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda,” McConnell said on Bloomberg Television on Tuesday morning, reflecting the Republican majority’s increasing frustration over the White House’s mishaps.

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