Former FBI Director James Comey will say on Thursday that President Donald Trump asked him to “see your way clear to letting this go,” referring to the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a copy of his opening remarks posted online.
“I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo,” the testimony notes posted on the Senate intelligence committee’s website. “To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone.”
Another part reads: “He then said, ‘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. I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’ (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would ‘let this go.'”
According to reports, Comey told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he did not want to be left alone with Trump that meeting, believing Sessions should protect the FBI from any interference by the president. Comey also told Trump that if he wanted information on investigations, that he should follow proper channels and not contact the director directly.
“On the morning of March 30, the President called me at the FBI,” Comey wrote on page six of the seven-page document. “He described the Russia investigation as ‘a cloud’ that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia. He asked what we could do to ‘lift the cloud.’ I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn’t find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him.”
Read the document in its entirety below: