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On FBI Investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump Asked James Comey to 'Let This Go'

President Trump salutes Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and national security adviser Michael Flynn upon arriving at MacDill Air Force Base in February. (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / CC 2.0)

President Trump salutes Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and national security adviser Michael Flynn upon arriving at MacDill Air Force Base in February. (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / CC 2.0)

Editor’s note: This is a developing story.

4:37 p.m. PDT: Truthdig columnist and former judge Bill Blum checked in with this take on Tuesday’s news:

On Dec. 6, 2016, well before the inauguration, I wrote a Truthdig column entitled “Talk of Impeaching Trump May be Premature, But Its Time Will Come.” In the column, I outlined what I thought would eventually become the basis for articles of impeachment against the malignant narcissist who had just been elected president. However, I cautioned that the impeachment effort would take time to develop and unfold.

With today’s report that Trump solicited former FBI Director James Comey to halt the investigation of Michael Flynn and turn the bureau’s attention instead to wayward journalists, the president appears to be guilty of obstruction of justice, which, by any measure, would rise to the level of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution requires for impeachment. We are on the threshold of a very big sea change in our political history. This is not just another Trump screw-up.

3:15 p.m. PDT: The information surrounding President Trump’s dismissal of former FBI chief James Comey continues to emerge. Now, new evidence points to Trump’s hope that the FBI would abandon its investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Flynn’s possible ties to Russia.

The New York Times reports:

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo that Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

The Times notes that the memo “was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation.”

And although the memo has been kept private from the media, including the Times, it is unclassified, and the newspaper learned of the memo through an “associate” of Comey’s who read the letter aloud to a New York Times reporter:

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey that Mr. Flynn had done nothing wrong, according to the memo.

Mr. Comey did not say anything to Mr. Trump about curtailing the investigation, only replying: “I agree he is a good guy.”

The White House denied this version of events. Read the full story here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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