May 17, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Steve Miller reporting.
Published reports say Donald Trump, the president of the United States, asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into Trump's ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russia.
The White House denies the claims and says the report is "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey."
The reports say Trump made the request of Comey['s] during a February meeting.
According to a memo that Comey wrote following the meeting, the president said, "I hope you can let this go." The details of Comey's notes were first reported by The New York Times and then later confirmed by The Washington Post and other news outlets.
Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic Party ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, shared his thoughts on the report.
"If true, this is yet another disturbing allegation that the president may have engaged in some interference or obstruction of the investigation. I think we know enough now, there has been enough alleged publicly to want to bring the director back to testify in an open session either before our committee or the Judiciary Committee. But he should come back to the Congress and share what he knows in terms of the president's conversations with him."
Trump fired Comey last week.
Flynn's resignation came hours after it was reported that the Justice Department had warned the White House weeks earlier that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail for his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office on January 20
A spokeswoman for the FBI declined a comment on the details of the Comey memo.
For more news and updates, visit our website voanews.com. This is VOA.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, speaking ahead of a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting, told countries that they must join the effort to prevent North Korea from getting a nuclear weapon. Haley warned that nations could face sanctions themselves if they help the rogue state achieve nuclearization.
"We've been talking constantly about test after test after test from North Korea but now we're seeing the longest ballistic test that we've seen so far, then we're hearing the rhetoric of any time, any place. And we're not going to continue to say go ahead and test as often as you want. This has become more than just a problem. This is a true threat to every country in the world."
Haley also said that talks were possible with Pyongyang but only if North Korea halted its weapons programs.
Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump tweeted it was an honor to host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House. This came after the president sparked anger in Turkey by authorizing the arming of Syrian Kurds.
Erdoğan called the decision to provide U.S. arms "contrary to our strategic relations to the U.S."
President Trump said the two leaders would hold "long and hard" discussions regarding the relationship between their countries.
"I look forward to working together with President Erdoğan on achieving peace and security in the Middle East, on confronting the shared threats, and on working toward a future of dignity and safety for all of our people."
The U.S. sees the Kurdish force, the YPG, as a key part in the fight against Islamic State and the effort to oust the militants from their de facto capital, Raqqa.
The world's number one opium-producing country, Afghanistan, is braced for a significant poppy harvest this year as farmers are cultivating the illicit crop in areas where it has never grown before.
According to U.S. officials, Taliban insurgents net 60 percent of their war chest from narcotics.
As poppy cultivation spikes, U.S. intelligence officials warn that the war-torn country is likely to see more armed violence this year.
Since 2002, the U.S. has spent more than $8.5 billion on counter-narcotics in Afghanistan. That amounts to about $1.5 million a day, according to the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
In addition to war, opium fuels corruption and organized crimes in Afghanistan, a country already ranked among the five most corrupt states in the world by Transparency International.
You can have more news around the clock 24 hours a day by visiting our website voanews.com. In Washington, I'm Steve Miller.
That's the latest world news from VOA.