The New York Times has the latest big revelation about President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey: Trump once asked Comey to close the bureau’s investigation into his former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, according to a memo Comey wrote in February.
The memo, revealed in a Times report on Tuesday, is the strongest proof yet that Trump tried to directly interfere with an FBI investigation. (He also complained to Comey about leaks, saying he “should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information,” according to the Times.)
Trump fired Flynn on February 13, after a report from the Washington Post that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.
The Times has not seen the memo, but it was apparently part of an extensive “paper trail” Comey left at the FBI, according to the Times. Excerpts of the memo, just one of many Comey wrote detailing all of his conversations with the president, were read to the Times’s reporter Michael Schmidt. The story has since been confirmed by The Washington Post.
Schmidt relays the following quotes from the memo:
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. ...
“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.”
Since firing Comey, Trump himself confirmed that part of the reason he did so was because of the FBI investigation into Russia. The memos appear to suggest that Trump actively attempted to meddle into another separate, but related, investigation — his national security adviser’s conversation with the Russian ambassador — even before dismissing the FBI director.