Back to
Cole (R) says he ‘won’t defend anyone who obstructs justice’

Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a deputy whip who has frequently defended Trump in the past, now says he “won’t defend anyone who obstructs justice,” according to CNBC’s John Harwood.

Cole, often considered a bellwether for Republican House members, went to bat for Trump just weeks ago — after Republicans’ first push to overhaul health care laws collapsed. “This is not a failure of leadership; it’s a failure of follow-ship,” he said at the time.

But the Oklahoman expressed alarm at Trump’s praise for President Andrew Jackson earlier this month. And after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the congressman wrote that the agency needed to be led by “a person of unquestioned character and completely divorced from partisan politics.”

Some legal analysts think that Trump may have obstructed justice if he pressured Comey to end an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn, as the fired director’s memo suggests.

The latest on Trump, Comey and Russia: How key Washington players are reacting

The White House is searching for a new FBI director, after President Trump dismissed James Comey from that post May 9. Since the firing, The Washington Post broke the news Monday that Trump shared highly classified intelligence with Russian officials. And Tuesday, the New York Times reported and other outlets confirmed that Trump asked the FBI to drop its probe into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and pursue leak cases.