The New York Times reports that James Comey has the receipts to prove it, too.
One of the strangest footnotes to Donald Trump’s abrupt termination of James Comey, the man who was leading an investigation into the President’s potential criminal wrongdoing at the time of his ouster, is that Trump apparently really believed that his decision would make his whole nasty Russia problem go away, and that Comey, a high-ranking law enforcement official, wouldn’t think to have any receipts to produce once removed from office. Today, the New York Times is reporting that in February, Trump personally asked Comey to shut down the investigation into disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s connections to Russia—which Comey, of course, declined to do. How do we know? Because James Comey wrote a whole dang memo about it.
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.
Did the President pair his request to the then-FBI director with an ominously vague threat that sounds like dialogue lifted from the cutting room floor of House of Cards? Of course he did.
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according
to the memo.
Set aside, for a moment, the obvious coercive implications of this message. Trump’s request would be wildly inappropriate even if the investigation didn’t relate directly to his alleged misconduct. A strict set of guidelines governs communications between the White House and the Department of Justice, and DOJ officials may talk directly to the White House only when doing so is “important for the performance of the President’s duties and appropriate from a law enforcement perspective.” The Department and the Bureau are independent entities that do not answer to the president, and Trump’s attempt to influence their work here should be viewed with profound skepticism, at the very least.
As the Times sagely notes in a sentence they presumably had to restrain themselves from putting in ALL CAPS, this revelation is the clearest evidence yet of a direct connection between Comey’s FBI investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign activities and Trump’s decision to fire him. “Obstruction of justice” is a famously vague, abstract concept, but expect to hear a lot more about it in the days to come.
The most interesting detail of all, though, is that there is apparently plenty more where this came from.
Mr. Comey created similar memos—including some that are
classified—about every phone call and meeting he had with the
president, the two [sources] said.
What in the World Is Going on in Donald Trump’s Head?
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