Democrats pounced on the explosive report Tuesday that a memo from James Comey claimed President Trump once asked the ex-FBI director to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, with many referring to it as an “obstruction of justice.”
"We are witnessing an obstruction of justice case unfolding in real time," tweeted Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
"I am stunned that any of my colleagues would oppose appointing an independent special prosecutor after this astonishing revelation," Blumenthal said in subsequent tweets, adding "All of the evidence – including transcripts, tapes, memos, and other documents – must be subpoenaed immediately."
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called for "a special prosecutor and an independent commission."
“This latest bombshell adds to the growing evidence that President Trump will do whatever it takes—including abuse of power and what may even be obstruction of justice—to make the Russia investigation disappear," Engel said in a statement.
The White House sharply rejected the characterization that the president tried to shut down an investigation, saying "This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey."
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement that no one "is above the law."
“Evidence that President Trump asked FBI Director Comey to stop the investigation of his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, again appears to cross the line into the obstruction of justice," he said.
Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said "history is watching" and "the country is being tested in unprecedented ways" in the wake of the New York Times report.
Schumer said in a brief, speech on the floor of the Senate he was "shaken" by the report.