By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
NEW YORK TIMES
MAY 16, 2017
WASHINGTON — 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 that 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 an ongoing 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.
note: nyt won't "seed" on Newsvine
• WaPo: Notes made by former FBI director Comey say Trump pressured him to end Flynn probe: Comey’s account of the February talk made it clear that his understanding of the conversation was that the president was seeking to impede the investigation, according to people who have read the account or had it read to them. Comey’s notes also made it clear he felt that the conversation with the president was improper and decided to withhold details of it from the case agents working on the Russia probe, according to the associates.
• NPR: Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Investigation: "It was an ask" not a command, the source said. A small number of FBI gents were made aware of the memo and the conversation, and agents kept working on the investigation. A second Comey associate told NPR that Comey wrote notes for his files after several conversations with Trump. "He was concerned," the second source said.
• NBC: Comey Wrote Memo Saying Trump Urged Him to Drop Flynn Investigation: Sources: Fired FBI Director James Comey wrote an internal memo saying President Donald Trump asked him to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of the memo told NBC News on Tuesday.
• Former FBI agent Clint Watts, who testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in March, said in an interview that a memo of this type "is consistent with Comey...He has done this before...He has documented evidence." He added that Trump has tried to "influence the Director...I see this as a very consistent pattern..."
• In a prepared statement, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor of the Senate that he is dismayed that Trump tried to shut down the investigation and may have disclosed classified information to the Russians. "The country is being tested in unprecedented ways...History is watching."
• NYT reporter Michael Schmidt said in interview that sources told him Comey was concerned about "Trump's efforts to curtail the investigation."
• Adam Schiff, Ranking Member House Intelligence Committee, said "Enough is enough," referring to this story after report that Trump wanted Comey to pledge loyalty and stressing the importance of appointing the right person to take Comey's place at the FBI.
• Ken Dilanian, NBC News just reported on MSNBC that "multiple sources" have confirmed this report...and there's more to the story.