The memos of former FBI Director James Comey have been released, detailing contemporaneous interactions between Comey and President Donald Trump last year that put the latter in an unflattering light.
The news media was able to get their hands on the memos Thursday after they were handed over to three House of Representatives committees by the Justice Department. Some GOP Congressmen had demanded the memos to be released in hopes to undercut Comey’s media tour for his new book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.”
In the book, Comey compared Trump to a mob boss who stresses personal loyalty over the law and has little regard for truth.
The memos had also previously been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller to assist his investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 elections.
The documents provide more detail of Trump’s concerns about a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence agent allegedly describing his involvement with prostitutes during a 2013 visit in Moscow. They detail, for example, a Feb. 2017 encounter in which Trump confronted Comey about the dossier.
“The president brought up the 'Golden Shower Thing' and said it really bothered him if his wife had any doubt about it,” Comey said, recounting the conversation. “The president said that 'the hookers thing' is nonsense but that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin had told him 'we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.'”
Comey said that he did not know when Trump had spoken with Putin, but the timing of the account suggested that it was shortly after the dossier was made public in early January 2017, just before Trump's inauguration.
The memos also go into the president’s relationship with his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Comey writes that he was asked by Trump to drop an inquiry into links between Flynn and Russia, according to the BBC.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump is reported to have said after a White House meeting.
The memos were written before Comey’s firing, which led to the appointment of Mueller. The former FBI Director said he took the unusual action to write everything down because he feared Trump would lie about their interactions. He told press during his book tour that he believed that it was possible that Russia held compromising information on the president.
Trump took to Twitter Friday morning, claiming that the memos proved his innocence.
“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?,” Trump said in a Tweet.