Paul Ryan warns against rushing to judgment on James Comey memo

Last Updated May 17, 2017 11:52 AM EDT

Speaker Paul Ryan warned on Wednesday against jumping to conclusions following revelations a day earlier that President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, as detailed in a memo written by Comey.

"What I told our members just this morning: We need the facts," the Wisconsin Republican said at a leadership press conference after holding a closed-door meeting with the House GOP Conference.

"It is obvious there are some people out there that want to harm the president but we have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House. And that means, before rushing to judgment, we get all the pertinent information," Ryan said.

Ryan said that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has "appropriately" requested the Comey memo.

He said he's sure Congress will hear from Comey, though he said it's up to the committees to decide whether he should testify. He also questioned why Comey didn't take action at the time if the allegations are true.

"Our job is to get the facts," he said. 

Many Republicans agree that they should take a wait-and-see approach.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, told reporters that there isn't enough information to justify a special prosecutor yet. He said it's too "early to make a judgment" without seeing documents or seeing key people testify under oath. 

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Arkansas, said he'd like to see the processes available to lawmakers in the House and Senate play out first. 

"I believe we need to let those processes unfold...do everything we can to get above the noise and arrive at the facts," he said. 

Other Republicans are downplaying the situation. 

"Personally, just from what I know right now, it's being made a bigger deal than what it is," said Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Georgia, who said that the president has not committed an obstruction of justice. "Any legal scholar out there is going to tell you that's clearly not an obstruction of justice," he said. 

Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, said, "At this point, I have not seen anything that is that alarming." 

Their remarks come after recent revelations that President Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn's ties with Russia and with Turkey, according to a memo written by Comey documenting their meeting. 

This report, confirmed by CBS News on Tuesday, follows further developments at the White House that Mr. Trump divulged classified information to Russian officials at a White House meeting last week. 

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.