Democrats maintain pressure on Trump over Comey firing

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Democrats have accused Trump of attempting to thwart the FBI's probe and have called for some type of independent inquiry into the matter.

"I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally - and that's the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system", Clapper said.

Gingrich continued, saying: "We are surrounded by 24-hour a day leaks and I think we are much better off to have these things out in the open", said Gingrich.

"We can make a fast decision", Trump told reporters Saturday aboard Air Force One before flying to Lynchburg, Virginia to deliver a commencement address at Liberty University. Institutions "under assault' James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under former president Barack Obama, was asked on CNN whether he knew if Trump's White House was in fact secretly recording conversations".

Clapper said America's founding fathers had created three co-equal branches of government with checks and balances, but with Trump as president, that was now "under assault and is eroding". Lindsey Graham said it is time for Trump to come clean about whether he recorded conversations at the White House. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate. And while he had no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump team, Graham said, "the president needs to back off and let the investigation go forward". Lee said he was "absolutely serious about it". "I think the Senate majority leader thinks that's a fantastic idea", Holmes said.

Under Senate rules, Republicans could confirm an Federal Bureau of Investigation director with 51 votes. Speaking on Sunday talk shows, lawmakers from the two parties said Trump doesn't have any choice but to turn over any tapes that could exist.

Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, at first saying he accepted recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, that he be ousted because of the role he played previous year in the investigation into Trump's presidential election challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and the way she handled national security material on her private email server. Only 15 percent of respondents said they preferred that the GOP-controlled Congress handle the investigation, which would also look into alleged links between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, while only 40 percent of poll respondents said they have at least some confidence in the ability of Congress to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the matter.

"First of all, we have to make sure that these tapes, if they exist, don't mysteriously disappear", Warner said.

Lee made a counterintuitive suggestion meant to draw bipartisan support: Merrick Garland, the judge nominated a year ago by former president Barack Obama to the Supreme Court but never given a hearing by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Warner and other Democrats also questioned the involvement of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in interviewing candidates to replace Comey. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the choice should be "certainly somebody not of a partisan background, certainly somebody of great experience and certainly somebody of courage".

Almost two thirds did think the FBI was up to that task, but the future of the FBI investigation is now unclear following Trump's firing of Comey - which Trump has admitted was at least partially in response to Comey's handling of that investigation.