James Comey’s memos are out.
Shortly after the Justice Department sent copies of the former FBI director’s memos to Congress at the request of a group of House Republicans, news organisations got ahold of the 15 pages of partially redacted documents.
The memos, which detail private conversations Comey said he had with President Donald Trump before and after Trump took office, outline interactions with Trump that Comey found to be questionable.
Here are the biggest revelations from Comey’s memos:
Trump railed against Andrew McCabe.
According to Comey, Trump blasted Andrew McCabe, then the FBI’s deputy director, and referred to him “your guy” in several conversations with Comey.
“He asked (as he had at our dinner) whether my deputy had a problem with him, and recounting how hard he had been on the campaign trail,” Comey wrote.
Trump bristled at McCabe frequently throughout his first year in the White House, often taking aim at him and his wife on Twitter.
Comey wrote that he responded to Trump’s comments by giving McCabe a positive assessment, saying he “explained that Andy McCabe was a pro.”
McCabe was fired in March amid an internal investigation over the manner in which he conducted himself during the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Trump said Mike Flynn had “serious judgment issues.”
According to Comey, Trump complained about his first national security adviser, Mike Flynn, by saying “the guy has serious judgment issues.”
During a dinner, Comey wrote, Trump recalled a conversation in which Flynn had not properly informed him of a congratulatory call from a world leader after his inauguration.
“In telling the story, the President pointed his fingers at his head and said ‘the guy has serious judgment issues,'” Comey said in the memo.
Who called to congratulate Trump?
Trump’s reported source of ire for Flynn took a twist after Comey’s memos were published.
According to Comey’s account of Trump’s story, Trump was giving a toast to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and said she had been the first to congratulate him after he won the presidency. But Flynn apparently interrupted Trump to inform him that another world leader had called first.
The identity of the leader who first called Trump was redacted in the memo; however, people familiar with the situation said it was Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Thursday.
Flynn said a return call to that leader was scheduled, but Trump appeared to have been irritated by the delay.
“Flynn said the return call was scheduled for Saturday, which prompted a heated reply from the President that six days was not an appropriate period of time to return a call from the [redacted] of a country like [redacted],” Comey wrote of Trump’s account of the conversation.
“This isn’t [redacted] we are talking about,” Trump said, according to Comey.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told Trump that Russia had ‘some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.’
Comey wrote that he and Trump discussed a salacious rumour – which Trump has denied – that Trump entertained prostitutes and witnessed a sexual act while in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room in 2013.
“The President said ‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense,” according to Comey, “but that Putin had told him ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.'”
Comey qualified his account and said Trump “did not say where Putin had told him this.”
Trump ‘clearly noticed’ Comey had directly criticised him.
In another conversation, Comey wrote that Trump had broached the subject of a controversial interview he once gave to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News.
In the interview, Trump said he respected Russian President Vladimir Putin and waved off the host’s characterization of Putin as a “killer.”
“There are a ton of killers,” Trump said during the interview. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”
Trump’s response was immediately rebuked by US officials across the political spectrum, but Comey said Trump did not see his words as controversial.
“He said he does respect the leader of a major country and thought that was the best answer,” Comey wrote. “He then said, ‘You think my answer was good, right?'”
“I said the answer was fine, except the part about killers, because we aren’t the kind of killers that Putin is,” Comey continued in his memo. “When I said this, the President paused noticeably. I don’t know what to make of it, but he clearly noticed I had directly criticised him.”
Trump wanted to “go after the leakers.”
Trump was so bothered by the number of leaks to news organisations, including of classified phone calls with foreign leaders, that “he replied that we need to go after the reporters,” Comey wrote.
Comey, who said he agreed “about the leaks being terrible,” wrote that Trump touched a phone in the Oval Office and said he assumed the calls made on “this beautiful phone” were confidential.
Trump then alluded to a time when “we put them in jail to find out what they know, and it worked,” Comey wrote.
“I explained that I was a fan of pursuing leaks aggressively but that going after reporters was tricky, for legal reasons and because DOJ tends to approach it conservatively,” Comey said in the memo.
According to Comey’s recollection, Trump said: “They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk.”
Comey wrote that he laughed at the comment as he left the Oval Office.
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