On Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said President Trump should turn over tapes of conversations he had with fired FBI Director James B. Comey â if theyÂ exist.
âHe should voluntarily turn them over not only to the Senate Intelligence Committee, but to the special counsel,â Collins told Brianna Keilar on CNNâs âState of the Union.â
âI donât understand why the president just doesnât clear this matter up once and for all,â she added.
Almost a monthÂ after suggesting that he recorded conversations with ComeyÂ in the White House, writing in an early-morning Twitter message that âComey better hope that there are no âtapesâ of our conversations,â the president has yet to definitely answer the question of whether any such tapes even exist.
âIâll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future,â Trump told reporters Friday when asked about the existence of any tapes.
Collins, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, joins Republicans on theÂ House Intelligence Committee who, with their Democratic colleagues,Â sent a letter to the White House on Friday demanding the president turn over any recordings with Comey within two weeks.
In her interview on Sunday, Collins added that she would support a subpoena being issued if the White House stonewalled, though she said such an order would likely come fromÂ special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and not from the Senate committee.
âI would be fine with issuing a subpoena,â Collins said.
On Thursday, Comey testified to the Senate that, in a Feb. 14 conversation in the Oval Office, Trump asked Comey to âsee your way clear to lettingâ go of the FBI investigation into Trumpâs former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Collins said such a conversation was âclearly wrong on the presidentâs part,â stopping short of calling it obstruction of justice, a step few Republicans or Democrats in Congress were willing to make on the Sunday morning political shows following Comeyâs testimony.
âLook, when it comes to something like obstruction, thereâs a serious legal standard,â Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on CBSâs âFace the Nationâ when asked if Comey made a case for obstruction of justice. âA good prosecutor looks at the facts and sees if it meets that standard. Iâm not going to speculate about that. Thatâs in prosecutor Muellerâs hands.â
After calling Trumpâs conversationsÂ with ComeyÂ before firing him âvery inappropriate,â Sen.Â James Lankford (R-Okla.) argued that the presidentâs actions did not rise to the level of obstruction.
âThe way that it was handled, with no follow-up, with no other press, with no other return to that topic, It looks like what I called a pretty light touchâÂ Lankford also said on âFace the Nationâ in reference to the Feb. 14 conversation. âIf this is trying to interfere in a process of any investigation, it doesnât seem like it was, one,Â very effective and, two,Â it came up more than once in a conversation.â