Comey Will Tell Congress Trump Asked Him to Drop Flynn Probe

Said requests were problematic, given FBI independence

FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," on May 3, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," on May 3, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted June 7, 2017 at 3:11pm

Former FBI Director James B. Comey will testify that he believed President Donald Trump asked him to drop a probe of potential obstruction of justice by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

“I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I
took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn’s departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls,” Comey will testify Thursday, according to a prepared statement. “Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee posted Comey’s statement Wednesday, following an open hearing on reauthorization of surveillance authorities that ended up being largely about actions by Trump in connection with the FBI probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Comey, known for writing detailed memos about his meetings, said the president said during a Feb. 14 meeting in the Oval Office that, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn
go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

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Comey’s statement for the record included subsequent phone conversations between the then-FBI director and the president, including a March 30 call in which Comey’s version of events says that Trump requested he spread the word that congressional leaders had been advised there was no personal investigation of Trump under way at that point.

“On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I ‘get out’ that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that ‘the cloud’ was getting in the way of his ability to do his job,” Comey said in his statement.

Comey said the April 11 call was his final conversation with Trump. Comey was eventually fired on May 9.