Washington: A series of explosive memos prepared by former FBI director James Comey detailing US President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to influence the bureau’s expanding investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections have been submitted to Congress.
Trump claimed vindication after the release of memos and said they “‘show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.”
“WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue? he asked.
The redacted and declassified memos running 15 pages in total — had previously been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller to assist his investigation into Trump’s possible attempts to obstruct the probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.
They give details of the telephonic conversations and meetings that Comey has had with Trump before he was fired by the president last May.
They detail the president’s alleged demands for loyalty from the former director and his requests for Comey to shut down its investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his pre-inaugural contacts with Russia ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigators.
Among the disclosures in the memos is a February 8, 2017, encounter in which Trump confronted Comey about the contents of a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence agent purportedly describing Trump’s involvement with prostitutes during a 2013 visit in Moscow.
Trump, according to the memos, repeatedly denied the allegations and prodded Comey to help disprove them, while also recalling being told by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia has the most beautiful prostitutes, it said.
According to The Hill, the memos detail Comey’s account of several now-famous incidents: one in which Trump allegedly demanded his personal loyalty; one in which he asked him to investigate allegations in the dossier that he had paid Russian prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed once slept in by former President Obama; and the request that Comey “let go” of the Flynn probe.
Expressing frustration over the leaks, in one of the memos Trump is suggesting jailing reporters to find out what they know.
Comey, told Trump that he was “eager to find leakers and would like to nail one to the door as a message,” but explained that prosecuting reporters was “tricky”.
“I said something about the value of putting a head on a pike as a message,” Comey wrote.
“(Trump) replied by saying it may involve putting reporters in jail. They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk.’ I laughed as I walked to the door Reince Priebus had opened,” Comey wrote.
“I was a fan of pursuing leaks aggressively but that going after reporters was tricky, for legal reasons and because (the Justice Department) tends to approach it conservatively. He replied by telling me to talk to (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions and see what we can do about being more aggressive,” Comey wrote.
In a joint statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said these memos are significant for both what is in them and what is not.
“Former Director Comey’s memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated.
“The memos also made clear the ‘cloud’ President Trump wanted lifted was not the Russian interference in the 2016 election cloud, rather it was the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier,” the three Republican lawmakers said.
The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. (PTI)