Memos written by former FBI Director James Comey that were “part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation” reveal that Donald Trump asked Comey to end an FBI investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s links to Russia.
Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of the memo to a Times reporter.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey that Mr. Flynn had done nothing wrong, according to the memo.
Mr. Comey did not say anything to Mr. Trump about curtailing the investigation, only replying: “I agree he is a good guy.”
The White House denied that Trump asked Comey to end any investigation and said that the report was “not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”
The memo is the clearest sign yet of potential interference by Trump with the investigation into whether members of his campaign team colluded with Russian officials.
“Three words: obstruction of justice,” said CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Tuesday. “Telling the FBI director to close down an investigation of your senior campaign adviser for his activities during your campaign for president, if that’s true, that is obstruction of justice.”
” ‘Close it down’ is an instruction to stop investigating President Trump’s campaign. Richard Nixon was impeached in 1974 for telling the FBI to stop an investigation of his campaign. That’s what Watergate was,” Toobin added. “If (Comey’s) telling the truth, I don’t know how anyone can see this comment as anything but obstruction of justice.”
Rep. Adam Schiff called the developments “disturbing” and said Comey should testify:
Senator Angus King called the allegations impeachable: