The Associated Press has obtained memos maintained by former FBI Director James Comey of meetings he had with President Donald Trump in early 2017. In the memos, Comey recounts Trump telling him of his concerns about former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s judgment, and that Trump had told him that Russian President Vladimir Putin had talked to him about Russian sex workers.
The AP reports:
The memos were provided to Congress earlier Thursday as House Republicans escalated criticism of the Justice Department, threatening to subpoena the documents and questioning officials. In a letter sent to three Republican House committee chairmen Thursday evening, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote that the department was sending a classified version of the memos and an unclassified version. The department released Boyd’s letter publicly but did not release the memos.
Justice officials had allowed some lawmakers to view the memos but had never provided copies to Congress. Boyd wrote that the department had also provided the memos to several Senate committees.
Comey writes that Trump told him that he was concerned that Flynn had “serious judgment issues.” According to the AP:
According to one memo, Trump complained about Flynn at a private January 2017 dinner with Comey, saying “the guy has serious judgment issues.” He then blamed Flynn for a delay in returning the congratulatory call of an international leader, telling Comey he would be upset if he had to wait six days for a returned phone call.
“I did not comment at any point during this topic and there was no mention or acknowledgment of any FBI interest in or contact with General Flynn,” Comey wrote.
At that point, the FBI had already interviewed Flynn about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and the Justice Department had already warned White House officials that they were concerned Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail.
Comey also wrote that during one meeting with former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus, Priebus asked him, “Do you have a FISA order on Mike Flynn?” Comey’s answer was redacted.
The former FBI director also said that Trump told him of a conversation he and Russian president Vladimir Putin had, when Putin allegedly told him, “we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world” (emphasis mine):
The President brought up the “Golden Showers thing” and said it really bothered him if his wife had any doubt about it. He then explained. as he did at our dinner, that he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip. Twice during this part of the conversation, Reince tried to interject a comment about the [redacted] and “why it was even in there,” but the President ignored him. The President said “the hookers thing is nonsense” but that Putin had told him “we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.” He did not say when Putin had told him this and i don’t recall [redacted].
In another memo, Comey wrote of a short phone call he had with Trump on March 1, 2017: “I added that Jeff Sessions has hit the ground running with a great speech on violent crime.”
The AP didn’t disclose where they obtained the memos from, but NBC News reported that they had obtained the same memos “from a Congressional source.”
Comey appeared on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show on Thursday night and talked about the memos. “I’m okay with transparency,” he said. “I just assume that the Department of Justice went through the steps to make sure that it wasn’t jeopardizing an ongoing investigation.” Maddow also asked Comey if he thought “these memos are part of the evidence that a prosecutor...should be considering when determining the President’s intent.” Comey said yes.
“These would be to show that I wrote it down at the time, sort of to bolster the credibility of my recollection,” Comey said.
“Let these memos out there,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway told Sean Hannity tonight. “People have been calling for transparency and accountability...[Comey] is someone who hardly knew the president.”
You can read the memos, per the AP, here.