Comey memos detail Trump's comments on Russia, reservations about Flynn

In his memos documenting cfonversations with President Donald Trump, former FBI Director James Comey recounts Trump's...

Posted: Apr 20, 2018 12:05 PM
Updated: Apr 20, 2018 12:05 PM

In his memos documenting cfonversations with President Donald Trump, former FBI Director James Comey recounts Trump's "serious reservations" about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn as well as the President's concerns about media leaks and Trump's recollection of Russian President Vladimir Putin telling him that Russia had the "most beautiful hookers in the world."

The Comey memos provided to Congress on Thursday and obtained by CNN include documentation of seven conversations he had with Trump from January 7, 2017, through April 11, 2017. Four of the notes are classified and have been partially redacted, and three of them are unclassified.

The contemporaneous notes that Comey compiled have already had a major impact: They helped lead to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, formed the basis of Trump's constant criticism that Comey is "a leaker" and sparked accusations that Comey provided classified information to a friend.

But the 15 pages that are now public recounting those conversations also provide a glimpse into how Comey and Trump tried to interact and coexist despite what the President described as the "cloud" of the Russia probe, before Comey was fired on May 9, 2017.

There are several recurring themes through the conversations: Trump frequently brings up leaks to the media and they discuss trying to find the source of the leaks. Trump also at least twice brought up the "golden showers thing" and said he was concerned even if there was a small chance his wife had thought it was true.

In the January 7 memo, Comey writes that Trump interjected, "there were no prostitutes; there were never prostitutes" about his 2013 trip to Moscow.

In his January 27 conversation with Trump, Comey recounted, in a memo written the next day, that Trump said "the hookers thing is nonsense," but then later said that "Putin had told him, 'we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.'"

Read: James Comey's memos

Comey also writes that the President said on January 27 he had "serious reservations" about Flynn, who soon left the administration and later pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials.

Trump explained that his reservations about Flynn's judgment by discussing a story about a toast to British Prime Minister Theresa May and someone else who Flynn had said called before her after Trump was inaugurated, but Flynn had not told the President.

"In telling the story, the President pointed his fingers at his head and said 'the guy has serious judgment issues,'" Comey writes. "I did not comment at any point during this topic and there was no mention or acknowledgment of any FBI interest or contact with General Flynn."

The unclassified memos include the now-famous conversation Trump had with Comey where he told Comey, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go."

"I replied by saying, 'I agree he is a good guy,' but said no more," Comey writes.

In the February 8 memo, Comey also recounts a conversation with then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, where he says that Priebus asked him whether it was a "private conversation," and asked Comey, "Do you have a FISA order on Mike Flynn?"

Comey said that he answered Priebus' question, but first told him that it was "the kind of question that had to be asked and answered through established channels."

Trump is also focused on loyalty, as Comey has said in congressional testimony and his book. In their final April 11 conversation, Comey writes that Trump told him: "I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing, you know."

Comey said that he assumed Trump was referring to his previous pledge for loyalty before his inauguration, where Comey responded he would provide "honesty," and Trump responded, "honest loyalty."

Trump's complaints about the "cloud" hanging over him thanks to the Russia investigation were also included in the memos. Comey recounted in his March 30 memo that Trump said he thought he would have won a Obamacare repeal vote if not for the cloud over Russia.

In the same conversation, Trump also suggested he would sue Christopher Steele, the British ex-intelligence officer who wrote the dossier, although he never did so.

The memos provide more detail about Comey's conversations with Trump regarding the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server. As he recounted in his book, Comey writes that Trump referenced "Comey One, Comey Two and Comey Three" when talking about different developments in the investigation during the campaign.

Comey also recounts how he criticized Trump over his answer during the campaign where Trump suggested the US was as guilty as Russia when it came to killings.

"'You think my answer was good, right?' I said the answer was fine. Except the part about the killers, because we aren't the kind of killers that Putin is," Comey wrote in the February 8 memo. "When I said this, the President paused noticeably. I don't know what to make of it, but he clearly noticed I had directly criticized him."

Provided to Congress

The Justice Department sent the redacted version of the memos on Thursday after three Republican House chairmen -- Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy and Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes -- demanded last week they be provided to Congress.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a response Monday that some lawmakers had already been given access last year. But after Goodlatte threatened to issue a subpoena, DOJ relented, citing "unusual events occurring since the previous limited disclosure."

The unredacted, classified version of the memos will be made available to Congress to view in a secure setting on Friday, DOJ said.

Late Thursday, Trump tweeted: "James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?"

In a joint statement, Goodlatte, Gowdy and Nunes said the memos "lay bare the notion that former Director Comey is not motivated by animus." The memos show that the "cloud" Trump told Comey he wanted lifted referred to the salacious and unproven allegations in the opposition research dossier, they say.

"As we have consistently said, rather than making a criminal case for obstruction or interference with an ongoing investigation, these memos would be Defense Exhibit A should such a charge be made," the chairmen said.

But Democrats see it differently. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said in a statement that the memos show that "Trump's interference was a blatant effort to deny justice, and Director Comey was right to document it as it happened -- in real time."

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the date on which two conversations about Michael Flynn and Putin occurred. The exchange happened January 27, and Comey wrote his memo the next day.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1000163

Reported Deaths: 16309
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1347632106
Lake660041156
Allen57441793
Hamilton46100461
St. Joseph44109607
Elkhart35696507
Vanderburgh32087477
Tippecanoe27796257
Johnson24902443
Hendricks23738354
Porter22802362
Madison18614404
Clark18424250
Vigo17347301
Monroe15180197
LaPorte15046250
Delaware14984259
Howard14626287
Kosciusko12217147
Hancock11630175
Bartholomew11505179
Warrick11255189
Floyd11013214
Wayne10897250
Grant9964218
Morgan9404176
Boone8863116
Dubois8227130
Dearborn817093
Henry8139151
Noble7984106
Marshall7838134
Cass7499119
Lawrence7403170
Shelby7138114
Jackson694088
Gibson6533113
Harrison644491
Huntington633999
Knox6273106
DeKalb626397
Montgomery6208109
Miami589797
Putnam575377
Clinton570271
Whitley560455
Steuben554675
Wabash5279101
Jasper524475
Jefferson506996
Ripley495685
Adams476073
Daviess4616113
Scott435869
Greene422096
Wells420987
Clay420260
White415962
Decatur4133101
Fayette404286
Jennings385160
Posey375343
LaGrange353978
Washington353249
Randolph341999
Spencer337342
Fountain332558
Sullivan326752
Starke313369
Owen312070
Fulton306567
Orange291762
Jay280445
Perry264752
Franklin264042
Carroll259132
Rush258832
Vermillion255454
Parke230026
Pike227943
Tipton226659
Blackford190540
Pulaski181855
Crawford158623
Newton156048
Benton150217
Brown144547
Martin137419
Switzerland134211
Warren120516
Union106815
Ohio84112
Unassigned0538

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1499485

Reported Deaths: 23327
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1626291662
Cuyahoga1447662412
Hamilton1044761409
Montgomery731681240
Summit610421094
Lucas55643904
Butler51076707
Stark459431053
Lorain35141568
Warren32476369
Mahoning30315672
Clermont27930321
Lake26669434
Delaware23960162
Licking23547283
Trumbull22550552
Fairfield22179241
Greene22098311
Medina21763305
Clark19630349
Richland18342280
Portage17696247
Wood17244220
Allen15730269
Miami15355296
Muskingum14551174
Columbiana13756263
Wayne13585263
Tuscarawas12479298
Marion11797175
Scioto11388154
Pickaway11286141
Erie10676180
Ross10462196
Lawrence9663137
Hancock9546149
Ashtabula9479197
Belmont9133197
Geauga8829157
Jefferson8481191
Huron8229139
Union810756
Washington8031137
Sandusky7724145
Athens769572
Knox7606138
Darke7553151
Seneca7208144
Ashland6817125
Auglaize667896
Shelby6410111
Brown628582
Crawford6184130
Defiance6087102
Mercer608293
Fulton592996
Highland590099
Madison587576
Clinton576190
Logan574692
Guernsey572467
Preble5660121
Putnam5250108
Williams520184
Perry512561
Champaign505071
Jackson498770
Ottawa479086
Coshocton471582
Morrow451256
Pike430762
Fayette422160
Adams411587
Gallia411265
Hardin411076
Van Wert364078
Henry357871
Holmes3567122
Hocking352578
Wyandot317961
Carroll297059
Paulding275945
Meigs259249
Monroe212953
Noble196546
Morgan190832
Harrison178242
Vinton162624
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Angola
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Huntington
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 43°
Decatur
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 43°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
The wonderful weather continues across the region Tuesday with our next chance of rain midweek.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events