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POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, Russia investigation, James Comey firing, White House credibility? media credibility?: Analysis (Philip Bump), "Trump's careening toward an inevitable showdown with an undeniable truth" ....

***President Donald Trump, Russia investigation, James Comey firing, White House credibility? media credibility?

* Washington Post (Philip Bump):  "Trump's careening toward an inevitable showdown with an undeniable truth" - From the WP:

Ten days ago, Donald Trump’s rocky presidency was in relatively calm waters. He’d helped push a health-care bill through the House and was spending the weekend at his Trump-brand property in Bedminster, N.J. After that, the deluge: Sally Yates’s testimony on Capitol Hill, the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, the private meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, the revelation that the Comey firing was spurred at least partly by the Russia investigation, the threat to release tapes of his conversation with Comey and, on Monday, The Washington Post’s revelation that Trump had shared classified information with the Russians.

Tuesday had its own surprise: A report from the New York Times about a conversation between Comey and the president in which Trump asked him to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. According to the Times, Comey detailed the Feb. 14 conversation with Trump in a memo that he shared with other senior FBI officials at the time — but didn’t reveal it publicly because he didn’t want to influence the investigation.

The White House denied it in a statement. It reads, in part: “The President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn. The President has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.” According to Comey’s purported memo, read to Times reporters by an associate, Trump said in their conversation, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

It seems as though the flood of information over the past 10 days has been pushing us to a point that we haven’t yet reached, forcing an explicit choice between the word of the White House and the word of an outside party. The Post’s story about the revelation of classified information came close, but the carefully worded administration responses released Monday didn’t constitute a robust denial of our story. In this case, the denial of the Times report is explicit. Trump’s White House says the report about the Comey memo is not “truthful or accurate.”

Forcing the American public to decide: Whom do you believe, Trump or Comey? Or, in a layer of abstraction that will continue to complicate things, the White House or the reporting of the Times (and others, including The Post)? ..................