President Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end the ongoing federal probe of former-national security advisor Michael T. Flynn, according to a memo written by Comey following a meeting with the president.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said to Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
The meeting between Comey and President Trump took place the day after Flynn resigned.
Behind the report:
Two people have read the memo and confirmed its contents to the Times, and one Comey associate read portions of it aloud.
If the report holds, it is thought to be the most direct evidence yet that President Trump has sought to influence ongoing investigations against members of the Trump team and Russian officials.
The White House has denied the version of the memo as reported by the Times.
Memo was shared with DOJ, WaPO reports:
Comey associates, following his firing, predicted that Comey, a careful record keeper, left a paper trail of his communications with the Trump administration:
One thing I learned at DOJ about Comey: he leaves a protective paper trail whenever he deems something inappropriate happened. Stay tuned. https://t.co/sENlYyhL5B
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 12, 2017
The Washington Post has reported that the memo was shared with the Department of Justice.
Congress can subpoena memo:
Congress has the authority to subpoena the memo – which the Times did not make public, as its contents were read aloud – and get answers in a public, open forum.
Sen. Marco Rubio: "it is inescapable now" that Comey must be called before Congress to testify about this newly revealed memo.
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) May 16, 2017
But Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, called on the Times – not Congress – to make the memo public:
Burr says the "burden is on the New York Times" to produce the memos, not on Comey. Says there may be an effort to undermine the president.
— Sam Frizell (@Sam_Frizell) May 16, 2017
Awaiting Comey’s next step:
James Comey declined an invitation to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but later reports say Comey is open to testifying, and would like to do so in public.
Comey is likely waiting for legal protection – like a subpoena – before going public.