President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.
The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.
Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.
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.”
It’s pretty lame that the Times ran this story not having seen the memo, but only having had it read to them over the phone. But that’s the blood-in-the-water atmosphere in Washington now. Seriously, do you doubt for a minute that this Comey memo exists? It came from a Comey associate. Comey is known for keeping meticulous records of these conversations. There will be more memos to come — so say sources close to Come, according to the Washington Post, which confirms the Times story, adding that Trump asked Comey to focus instead on journalists who print stories leaked to them.
If Comey is telling the truth, then it’s another piece of evidence that Trump tried to obstruct a criminal investigation. Recall that had he not resigned, Richard Nixon would have been impeached for obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Congressional Republicans have their back against a wall now.
Three and a half more years of this.
How could Trump be so stupid as to fire Comey knowing that he had asked him to do this? True, Comey could be lying, but we already know that Trump fired Comey in part because of the Russia investigation, because Trump said so himself in the NBC interview. Do you trust Jim Comey’s account, or Donald Trump’s? Did Trump not know what he asked of Comey was seriously wrong? Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but as with the intel story from yesterday, Trump is ignorant of the norms and practices of the presidency, and thinks he can trample them.
Hubris makes you stupid. Trump came to Washington knowing that the Deep State would have it out for him. They hardly have to lift a finger — he’s taking himself down. Who — and what — will he take down with him?