Comey memos detailing conversations of Trump meetings published

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Washington, April 20 (IANS) Former FBI Director James Comey has released memos documenting his conversations with Donald Trump that includes the US President’s concerns about media leaks, investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s recollection of his Russian counterpart telling him that Russia had the “most beautiful hookers in the world”.

The Comey memos sent to Congress from the Justice Department on Thursday night included documentation of seven conversations he had with Trump from January 7, 2017 to April 11, 2017. Four of the notes were classified and partially redacted and three of them were unclassified, the Washington Post reported.

Details published in the notes were consistent with allegations in Comey’s new book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership”.

The memos reveal the extent of Trump’s preoccupation with unproven allegations that he had consorted with prostitutes while in Moscow in 2013. Trump, according to the memos, repeatedly denied the allegations and persuaded Comey to help disprove them, while also recalling being told by Putin that Russia has the “most beautiful prostitutes”.

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Comey also wrote that the President said on January 27 he had “serious reservations” about Flynn. “The guy has serious judgment issues,” the former FBI head was told. Flynn was forced to resign over charges that he had lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. He is now cooperating with the probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Comey wrote that he was asked by Trump to drop an inquiry into links between Flynn and Russia. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump was reported to have said after a White House meeting.

Trump seized on the memos in a Twitter message and said: “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?”

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Comey’s memo of his February 14, 2017, discussion with Trump included a previously unreported exchange about trying to prevent leaks. At the time, he was upset that transcripts of his phone conversations with the Mexican and Australian leaders had appeared in The Washington Post.

Trump was also focussed on loyalty, as Comey said in Congressional testimony and his book. In their final April 11 conversation, Comey wrote 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”.

The former FBI chief was fired in May.

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Trump’s complaint about the “cloud” hanging over him due to the Russia investigation was also included in the memos. 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 unredacted, classified version of the memos will be made available to Congress, the Department of Justice said.

–IANS

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