Trump asked Comey to end investigation of Michael Flynn

Xavier Trudeau
Mai 19, 2017

The New York Times has published a story with details of a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey documenting a conversation he had with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in February.

The White House has looked to Trump's trip overseas as a moment to draw the president out of Washington's hyper-partisan hothouse and put him in a more statesman-like setting.

The fact that the president apparently said he "hoped" Comey would end the Flynn investigation rather than more directly ordering it "makes for a weaker but still viable case", said Christopher Slobogin, a criminal law professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In a letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Chaffetz set a deadline of May 24 for the FBI to produce "all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the President".

Comey created similar memos - including some that are classified - about every phone call and meeting he had with the president, the two people said.

Trump fired Comey last week. In May, he fired him over "this Russian Federation thing".

According to the US official, Trump shared details with top Russian officials about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

Despite the conversation between Trump and Comey, the investigation of Flynn has proceeded.

Sources said that Comey was so appalled by the request at an Oval Office meeting on February 14 that he wanted to document it to share his recollections of the encounter with senior Federal Bureau of Investigation officials.

Flynn advised Trump on foreign policy during the campaign and was later appointed NSA, a position he was forced to resign after lying about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador in Washington.

The newspaper said Comey was in the Oval Office that day with other national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. When that ended, Trump asked everyone to leave except Comey, and he eventually turned the conversation to Flynn. Comey and his aides perceived Trump's comments as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret - even from the FBI agents working on the Russian Federation investigation - so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.

Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security, said: "There is no doubt in my mind that the Mossad is raging angry right now, and the Israeli defence intelligence agency is questioning how much they should be sharing with the administration".

Citing anonymous officials, US media reported on May 15 that during his May 10 meeting with Lavrov, Trump had disclosed highly classified information received from a USA ally - reportedly Israel - about a planned operation by the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

"If the USA administration considers it possible, we are ready to provide a record of Lavrov's conversation with Trump" to USA lawmakers, Putin said at a press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. Trump has disparaged the ongoing FBI investigation as a hoax and called for an investigation into his political rivals.

In another weird portion of the memo, Trump complained that classified government information had been repeatedly leaked to the news media and urged Comey to consider jailing reporters who were involved. At that dinner, on January 27, Trump asked Comey at least two times for a pledge of loyalty - which Comey declined, according to one of Comey's associates.

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