Trump asked Comey to end Flynn investigation: report


President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn in February, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Comey wrote in a memo shortly after the meeting that Trump told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” the report said.

The meeting took place Feb. 14, one day after Flynn resigned, according to the Times, which reported that Comey’s memo was part of an effort to create a paper trail documenting what he saw as Trump’s improper influence on the investigation.

Comey’s memo says he did not respond to Trump about the probe, but agreed with him that Flynn is “a good guy.”

The White House denied the memo’s version of events, telling reporters, “this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.”

White House officials stressed that acting director Andrew McCabe told lawmakers last week that “there has been no effort to impede our investigation to date.”

The bombshell report deepened the crisis surrounding Trump’s surprise firing of Comey last week, at the same time the White House is struggling to contain separate fallout from the president’s alleged disclosure of highly classified information to Russian diplomats.

It provided ammunition to lawmakers and others accusing Trump of trying to influence the outcome of the federal investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 election.

“Just leaving Senate floor. Lots of chatter from Ds and Rs about the exact definition of ‘obstruction of justice,’” tweeted Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.).

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are clamoring for Comey to come tell his side of the story, either behind closed doors or publicly.

“He needs to come back before the Congress and share with the public what conversations he had with the president that may bear on whether there was any effort to obstruct the investigation or impede it in any way,” House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters after a closed-door briefing with CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.

The committee made a bipartisan announcement last week that it will perform “rigorous oversight” to prevent any potential political interference into the bureau’s investigation.

Comey declined an invitation to brief the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Tuesday, but is reportedly open to a public airing.

The firestorm over Comey’s dismissal has played out with little word from the director himself, save a brief letter to the FBI workforce that said “a president can fire an FBI director for any reason.”

The only glimpse of the former director has been paparazzi shots taken through his back fence in McLean, Va.

But the towering former director has rarely shied away from public testimony when he considered it to be in the public interest — or in the interest of the bureau.

Lawmakers hope he provides testimony amid continued fallout over the circumstances surrounding his ouster.

White House officials initially said that Comey’s firing was related to his handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation — not the bureau’s investigation of possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the election.

But Trump later undercut that explanation, telling NBC News that “this Russia thing with Trump” was on his mind when he fired Comey.

“When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,” he said.

Talk of the potential of obstruction bubbled up last Friday, when Trump appeared to warn Comey against speaking about their conversations in a tweet that suggested recordings exist of the talks.

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” he tweeted.

But Trump’s warning has apparently not deterred Comey. And the probe into Flynn also appears to be ongoing.

A federal grand jury issued subpoenas for business records related to Flynn, CNN reported last week.

Trump fired Flynn after it was revealed he misled senior administration officials, including Vice President Pence, about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

Federal investigators are also reportedly looking into Flynn’s paid lobbying for Turkey.

– Katie Bo Williams contributed

Updated: 6:29 p.m.

Tags Adam Schiff Chris Murphy Hillary Clinton

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