Fresh from a gruelling 24 hours putting out fires, the White House is facing a new and potentially even more damaging scandal.
The Washington Post allegation about Donald Trump’s intelligence leak is damaging because it feeds into the Trump administration’s biggest weakness — that it is too close to the Kremlin and owes it for last year’s election.
However, it does not carry any whiff of criminality.
Today’s New York Times report — that Mr Trump urged FBI director James Comey to drop an FBI investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn — is more serious.
It could go to obstruction of justice, and notes from FBI officials are admissible in court.
The Times report comes with a big caveat: the paper has not seen the memo and has based its reporting on off-the-record discussions.
The White House has issued a strong denial.
Last week, FBI acting director Michael McCabe told the Senate Intelligence Committee the White House had not sought to influence its probe into ties between the Trump team and Russia.
“There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date,” acting director McCabe said, before adding: “The work of the men and women of the FBI continues.”
Murkier and murkier.
Republicans and Democrats alike now want answers, including senior Republican senator Lindsey Graham.
Like other shocked congressmen to emerge from Capitol Hill to be hit by questions from reporters about The Times article, he is not rushing to judgement.
“If Mr Comey is alleging the President did something inappropriate, it’s an open invitation to come to the judiciary committee and tell us about it,” Senator Graham said.
“I don’t want to read a memo; I want to hear it from him.”
So far the facts we know are that Mr Trump hired Mr Flynn against the advice of former president Barack Obama.
He lasted just 24 days in the position — an unwanted record — and was forced to resign over a conversation with Russia’s ambassador [revealed again by The Washington Post] the day Mr Obama expelled a number of diplomats.
The latest memo reported on by the New York Times (and now corroborated in an off-the-record manner by other US media outlets) was supposedly written the day after Mr Flynn was sacked.
The White House now faces potentially even more gruelling days ahead dealing with this latest bombshell.
Watch this space.
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