President Trump asked then-FBI director James Comey to close the federal investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, says a memo Comey wrote, the New York Times reports. “I hope you can let this go,” the president told Comey, according to the memo. The documentation of Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to influence the Justice Department investigation into links between Trump’s associates and Russia. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the FBI turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Trump and Comey. Chaffetz said the documents would “raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede” the FBI.
Comey shared the memo with senior FBI officials. One of his associates read parts of it to a Times reporter. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump reportedly told Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” The White House denied the version of events in the memo.. Trump “never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the White House said. Commenting on the Trump’s actions, former White House adviser David Gergen said, “I was in the Nixon administration, as you know, and I thought after watching the Clinton impeachment I’d never see another one. But I think we’re in impeachment territory now for the first time.” Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), withdrew his name from consideration to succeed Comey at the FBI.