FBI Director James Comey’s sudden dismissal last week still has Washington in a frenzy, and more chaos ensued after it was revealed that President Trump asked Comey to stop the Michael Flynn investigation. Flynn briefly served as the national security adviser.
According to a memo provided by Comey, Trump said he hoped the director could “let this go.” The president then said that Flynn was a “good guy.” Comey agreed but did not say he would end the investigation. The authenticity of the memo was confirmed by the Washington Post newspaper and NBC News.
The Trump administration issued an official denial and claimed the conversation in question occurred after Flynn had already resigned. Comey said he told other FBI agents about the memo, which was part of a larger paper trail process. That paper trail contained meticulous notes regarding all the meetings and telephone conversations Comey had with Trump.
When the story about the memo was broken by the New York Times, the White House immediately issued a statement that said Flynn was a decent public servant, and Trump never asked Comey to discontinue anything. It concluded by saying that Trump had the highest respect for law enforcement, and the memo was not an accurate record of the conversation that took place.
Andrew McCabe, the acting director of the FBI, said there has been no interference or attempt to stop any investigations being conducted by the Justice Department.
Trump went on NBC News and told Lester Holt that he was always planning to fire Comey, and that a reported plea for Comey’s loyalty was false. The president also tweeted a vaguely threatening message to Comey, telling him to “hope” there were no recorded conversations between the two.
There were a multitude of responses to the memo on Capitol Hill, which ranged from “shaken” to “abuse of power,” along with numerous comparisons to Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr said the memo needs to be made public, and that burden lies with the New York Times since the paper broke the story.