WASHINGTON — Ousted FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that President Donald Trump asked him to end the bureau’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a report Tuesday in The New York Times.
Comey reportedly wrote a memo following a one-on-one meeting with Trump the day before Flynn left his position.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump asks in the memo, which was apparently read to them by an FBI official but not directly seen. “He is a good guy.”
According to the Times, Comey agreed that Flynn was a “good guy,” but did not address closing the investigation.
The report comes after a tumultuous week in which Trump terminated Comey, a decision that he told NBC’s Lester Holt was made before he received a formal recommendation from Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.
In the same interview, Trump also identified “the Russian thing” as the basis for his decision and said Comey tol him three times that he was not personally under investigation.
The FBI interviewed Flynn prior to his resignation, but the investigation was reportedly not part of a separate probe into potential Russian intervention in the 2016 election.
Flynn had misrepresented a conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump taking office, wherein the two had allegedly discussed removing sanctions against Russia.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired Jan. 30 after refusing to abide by an executive order from the president, had given the White House a heads-up on the conversation, telling them that it had left Flynn open to blackmail.
In a statement Tuesday night, the White House denied the details in the memo.
“While the President has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” an unnamed official said in a statement sent to White House reporters. “The President has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.”
The official also noted that acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe had told Senate Intelligence Committee that there were no efforts to obstruct the agency’s investigation into Russian interference.
As the New York Times notes, however, the probe of Flynn was separate to the Russian investigation.