Former FBI Director James Comey is known to keep a “protective paper trail,” according to a former Department of Justice spokesperson under President Barack Obama. It turns out that’s true. According to a bombshell report from the New York Times, Trump asked Comey to shut down the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn in an Oval Office meeting in February. The Times notes that this information comes from a memo Comey wrote shortly after the meeting with Trump.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey, according to the memo.
The New York Times reports:
The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.
After the meeting with Trump, Comey immediately wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the amateur president. The meeting took place the day after Flynn was forced to resign, according to two people who read the memo.
About that paper trail I mentioned above:
The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.
Comey then shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump told Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
After Flynn was forced to resign after lying to vice-president Pence about his meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump went on to call Flynn a “wonderful” man, then blamed the “fake media.”
We’re sure Republicans will be all up in this. You know, for the good of our country.
I just asked @DarrellIssa abt the Comey news and he flicked me off — literally gave me the middle finger — and kept walking. Said nothing
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) May 16, 2017
Well, here’s a middle finger right back at ya’, Issa.
Comey associate confirms NYT scoop and says memo is “rich in detail” and he would welcome it becoming public. https://t.co/zqVWXRJPe1
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) May 16, 2017
The White House is denying that Trump asked Comey to end the investigation.
While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the statement said. “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.”
Trump fired the man leading an investigation into his administration’s alleged ties to Russia, then Comey just dropped the mic.
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