One day after the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump leaked classified information to Russian diplomats in a meeting at the Oval Office last week and one week after the president fired FBI director James Comey; the New York Times has released one of the biggest stories about the administration this year.
After asking Vice President Pence and DOJ head Jeff Sessions to leave the room, #45 privately asked Comey to drop his investigation of former national security adviser General Michael Flynn, according to a 2-page memo written by Mr. Comey shortly after that February 14 meeting. (Remember, Flynn resigned earlier this year for failing to reveal his ties to Russia.)
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump asked Comey, according to his paper trail. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Comey wrote that he replied: “I agree he is a good guy.”
The NYT is clear that they haven’t read the actual memo, but close sources to Comey relayed the information to the newspaper.
Like yesterday’s Washington Post report, White House officials have called this report “false.”
“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 statement 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.”
But according to inside sources, y’all’s president is very upset:
So why does this matter?
If these reports are true, Trump may have committed an obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense. A president cannot ask the FBI to stop an open investigation.
And both Democrats and Republicans are concerned about this report:
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: “If these reports are true, the President’s brazen attempt to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn is an assault on the rule of law that is fundamental to our democracy. At best, President Trump has committed a grave abuse of executive power. At worst, he has obstructed justice.”
House oversight committee chairman Jason Chaffetz tweeted:
CNN reported that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, discussing the latest developments on the Senate floor, saying: “The country is being tested in unprecedented ways. I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate, history is watching.”
Of course everyday folks on Twitter had a lot to say:
According to the Times, this isn’t the only Comey memo that exists: The ousted FBI head apparently created on every time he spoke with and met with the President. It’s been reported that Comey wrote these memos because he was concerned about the subject matter and underlying tone of these conversations.
It’s believed that Comey will testify in a public Senate hearing in the upcoming week, but it’s unknown if he will be subpoenaed to bring his memos with him.
Last week, Trump tweeted that Comey better hope that #45 didn’t have any tapes of their prior conversations. But here’s the gag: Trump better hope those alleged tapes don’t get produced—they may corroborate what Comey is saying.
This is a developing story; we will provide updates as they become available.