Comey Memos: Trump Had 'Serious Reservations' About Mike Flynn

President Donald Trump told James Comey that he had "serious reservations” about the judgment of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The revelation arrived in leaked copies of contemporaneous memos written by Comey, which were obtained by the Associated Press.

Michael Flynn, who holds the record for shortest tenure as security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The memos, which contained notes Comey reportedly took after each interaction with the president, were declassified Thursday evening and released to Capitol Hill after Trump approved the transmission. It took less than an hour for the memos to leak after Congress obtained them. 

During his first meeting with Trump, Comey brought up unverified allegations about the president's trip to Moscow. "I said the Russians had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013," he wrote. Trump then "interjected, 'There were no prostitutes; there were never prostitutes.' He then said something about being the kind of guy who didn't need to 'go there' and laughed (which I understood to be communicating that he didn't need to pay for sex)." 

Comey said that Trump then "started talking about all of the women who had falsely accused him of grabbing or touching them (with particular mention of a 'stripper' who said he grabbed her) and gave me the sense that he was defending himself to me."

Comey described their second interaction, over a private dinner, as "chaotic," and said the president spoke in a "jigsaw puzzle" style of conversation about topics ranging from the size of the crowd at his inauguration to the "extraordinary luxury of the White House."

During the meeting, Trump also allegedly told Comey that about 20 other people were vying for his job and asked if Comey wanted to stay in his position. Trump then said he needed and expected loyalty, to which Comey did not reply.

Trump also discussed what he called the "golden showers thing" and said it was "fake news," according to Comey. The conversation about Flynn occurred at the same meeting.

During their next interaction, an impromptu visit in the Oval Office with Reince Priebus, the president mused about what would have happened had he run against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and asked once more about the “golden shower thing” incident, saying it bothered him that his wife might have some doubts about his denial. He also allegedly told Comey that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him, “We have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world,” but did not specify when, according to Comey’s memo.

In their next solo meeting, at the end of a much larger briefing, president Trump discussed Mike Flynn, whom he had just fired, with Comey. According to the memo, Trump assured Comey that Flynn was a “good guy” who “hadn’t done anything wrong” but that he had to be fired because he had misled vice president Mike Pence.

The subject moved on to leakers, and according to Comey’s memos, the president said “we need to go after the reporters” and that “10 or 15 years ago we put them in jail to find out what they know and it worked.”

The conversation then returned to Flynn. According to the memos, Trump said to Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go. To letting Flynn go.”

In his memos, Comey also recalled a series of telephone calls with the president that occured after his in-person meetings. In the first, the president just checked in to see how the FBI director was doing, but during the second call he went on at length about the “cloud” the Russia scandal was causing, saying he did not cheat on his wife and that he was personally suing former British spy Christopher Steele. The president asked Comey to get the word out that he was not personally under investigation for connections to Russia.

In his last recounted call with the president, Comey wrote that Trump asked about what Comey had done to get the word out that Trump was not personally under investigation. Comey said he referred Trump to the acting attorney general. According to Comey, Trump then added: “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing you know,” presumably referring to their first dinner together.

A group of Republican representatives, including House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Trey Gowdy, and House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes, had requested the Comey memos be released.

Comey, whom Trump fired in May, began a media tour for his book this week. Trump has been responding angrily on Twitter, saying, “James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH.”

In a May interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump said he fired Comey for his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 elections. "When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,'" he said. “It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won." The president now denies that is why he fired Comey.

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