The allegations against President Trump and why he fired James Comey from the FBI are getting deeper, but the Trump administration continues to challenge them all.
The New York Times on Tuesday afternoon published a story claiming there is a memo from James Comey that claims President Trump asked the former FBI director to drop his probe of Michael Flynn.
The New York Times reported that Comey wrote a memo not long after he met with the president in February. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey, according to the New York Times account of the memo. However, the New York Times hasn’t seen the memo, they are merely reporting off what “a Comey associate” read to them.
The memo was presented as the clearest evidence yet that Trump tried to influence the Justice Department and FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and alleged links to Trump’s associates.
But the White House rejected the characterization that the president tried to shut down an investigation.
“[T]he President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” an official 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.”
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe also testified last week on Capitol Hill that there “has been no effort to impede our investigation to date.”
Trump’s inner circle has been dogged by critical reports about his discussions behind closed doors. His team is still grappling with a Washington Post report that he shared classified details on an ISIS threat with visiting Russian officials – the White House has defended Trump’s discussions as “wholly appropriate.”
But more broadly, Trump has faced growing accusations from Democrats that he fired Comey last week out of frustration with the Russia investigation.
The memo reported by the Times was apparently written immediately after the meeting between Trump and Comey – which reportedly took place the same day Flynn was ousted as national security adviser for misleading Vice President Pence over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador.
The Times acknowledged it has not viewed a copy but said a Comey associate read parts of it.
Trump reportedly told Comey, “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.”
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