President Donald Trump, in a private meeting with then-FBI Director James B. Comey, asked him to end the criminal investigation into retired Gen. Michael Flynn, according to a memo written by Comey shortly after the meeting.
According to the memo, the meeting took place on Feb. 14, which was the day after Trump fired Flynn from his White House job. An associate of Comey who read the memo described its contents. It was first reported by The New York Times.
Comey wrote a number of other memos to record Trump’s statements that he found troublesome, the associate said.
Trump told Comey in the meeting that “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go,” according to the memo. “He is a good guy.”
A memo memorializing Comey’s conversation with Trump would be consistent with a practice Comey is known to have established earlier in his career of writing memos to document incidents that he found noteworthy or disturbing.
Trump fired Comey on May 9. He subsequently said in an interview with NBC News that he was unhappy about the Russia investigation, though he added that he was not trying to obstruct the FBI investigation into Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. The bureau is also investigating whether any associates of Trump’s cooperated with the Russian efforts.
Flynn was fired as national security adviser after he lied about the nature of conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Those conversations were intercepted by the U.S.
The former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, told the White House in late January that Flynn’s public statements were not accurate, and might that he might be vulnerable to “blackmail” from Russian agents as a result.
Flynn was not fired until 18 days after Yates made that report. The firing came the day that The Washington Post revealed that Yates had warned the White House about him.
The White House on Tuesday denied the account of Comey’s memo, saying that it was “not a truthful and accurate portrayal of the conversation.”
“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that Gen. 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,” the statement said.
The latest report was met with expressions of astonishment on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties promised to obtain the memos by subpoena and to press for answers on whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation.
The House Oversight Committee “is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists,” Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote Tuesday in a tweet.
“I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.”
“Enough is enough. Congress really needs to get to the bottom of this,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.