The White House is denying a damaging report by the New York Times Tuesday that former FBI Director James Comey left a paper trail documenting President Trump’s alleged attempts to improperly influence the investigation into Mike Flynn’s interactions with the Russians.
The Times report details a memo written by Comey after a February meeting with the president where he told him to shut down the investigation into his former national security adviser.
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Comey, according to the memo.
The meeting took place the day after Flynn resigned from his office on account of a leak that caught him lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his meeting with a Russian ambassador. The White House said the event had caused a loss of trust and Flynn resigned.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said to Comey according to his memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” He then told Comey that Flynn had done nothing wrong.
“I agree he is a good guy,” Comey told Trump, but did not acknowledge his request to curtail the investigation, according to the memo.
The White House has issued a denial of the allegation.
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 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.
Sources confirmed the story to NBC and CNN, though it’s unknown if they were different sources from those in the the New York Times report.
CNN’s Pamela Brown reported that Comey was so appalled by Trump’s alleged request that he wanted to document the demand. NBC’s Ken Dilanian reported that Comey planned to “go public” with the memos to substantiate his version of events.