U.S. Department of Justice
Attorney Work Product // May Contain Material Protected Under Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)
Shortly after meeting with the President, Comey began drafting a memorandum documenting their conversation. Comey also met with his senior leadership team to discuss the President's request, and they agreed not to inform FBI officials working on the Flynn case of the President's statements so the officials would not be influenced by the request. Comey also asked for a meeting with Sessions and requested that Sessions not leave Comey alone with the President again.
- 8. The Media Raises Questions About the President's Delay in Terminating Flynn
After Flynn was forced to resign, the press raised questions about why the President waited more than two weeks after the DOJ notification to remove Flynn and whether the President had known about Flynn's contacts with Kislyak before the DOJ notification. The press also continued to raise questions about connections between Russia and the President's campaign. On February 15, 2017, the President told reporters, "General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he's been treated very, very unfairly by the media." On February 16, 2017, the President held
- Comey 11/15/17 302, at 11; Hearing on Russian Election Interference Before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the record of James B. Comey, former Director of the FBI, at 5).
- Comey 11/15/17 302, at 11: Rybicki 6/9/17 302, at 4; Rybicki 6/22/17 302, at 1; Hearing on Russian Election Interference Before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong, (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the record of James B. Comey, former Director of the FBI, at 5-6).
- Comey 11/15/17 302, at 11; Rybicki 6/9/17 302, at 4-5; Rybicki 6/22/17 302, at 1-2; Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 6 (confirming that later in the week following Comey's one-on-one meeting with the President in the Oval Office, Comey told the Attorney General that he did not want to be alone with the President); Hunt 2/1/18 302, at 6 (within days of the February 14 Oval Office meeting, Comey told Sessions he did not think it was appropriate for the FBI Director to meet alone with the President); Rybicki 11/21/18 302, at 4 (Rybicki helped to schedule the meeting with Sessions because Comey wanted to talk about his concerns about meeting with the President alone); Hearing on Russian Election Interference Before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the record of James B. Comey, former Director of the FBI, at 6).
- See, e.g., Sean Spicer, White House Daily Briefing, C-SPAN (Feb. 14, 2017) (questions from the press included, "if [the President] was notified 17 days ago that Flynn had misled the Vice President, other officials here, and that he was a potential threat to blackmail by the Russians, why would he be kept on for almost three weeks?" and "Did the President instruct [Flynn] to talk about sanctions with the [Russian ambassador]?"). Priebus recalled that the President initially equivocated on whether to fire Flynn because it would generate negative press to lose his National Security Advisor so early in his term. Priebus 1/18/18 302, at 8.
- E.g., Sean Sullivan et al., Senators from both parties pledge to deepen probe of Russia and the 2016 election, Washington Post (Feb, 14, 2017); Aaron Blake, 3 times Donald Trump's team denied contact with Russia, Washington Post (Feb. 15, 2017); Oren Dorell, Donald Trump's ties to Russia go back 30 years, USA Today (Feb. 15, 2017); Pamela Brown et al., Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign, CNN (Feb. 15, 2017); Austin Wright, Comey briefs senators amid furor over Trump-Russia ties, Politico (Feb. 17, 2017); Megan Twohey & Scott Shane, A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates, New York Times (Feb. 19, 2017).
- Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel in Joint Press Conference, White House (Feb. 15, 2017).