President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down the federal investigation into since-ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a news report.
Comey wrote in a February memo that the president asked him to stand down on the Flynn probe, according to a report from the The New York Times on Tuesday. Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13 amid questions over his contact with the Russian ambassador to the United States and discussions of U.S. sanctions.
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Trump told Comey, according to the Times. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president shortly after it took place, according to the Times, citing two people who read the memo. It is part of a paper trail Comey created documenting what he believed to be improper efforts to influence the investigation.
Trump reportedly told Comey that Flynn had done nothing wrong. The memo said Comey did not say anything about ending the investigation but agreed that Flynn is a "good guy."
The White House denied the version of events in the memo provided to the Times. Flynn's lawyer declined to comment when contacted by a BuzzFeed reporter.
The Times report may present the clearest evidence yet that the president has tried to influence government investigations into links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired by Trump on January 30, told the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza in a recent interview, portions of which were published on Tuesday, that Flynn's name appeared, unredacted, in intelligence reports on his calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. She declined to discuss classified information, including evidence in the Flynn case.
Tuesday's report comes amid a week of controversy at the White House. The day after Trump ousted Comey, he invited Russian diplomats to the Oval Office. The Washington Post reported on Monday that he revealed classified information in that meeting, which other outlets confirmed. Multiple media outlets reported earlier in the day on Tuesday that Israel was the source of the information Trump disclosed.
The Trump administration has pushed back against concerns of wrongdoing at every turn, with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster assuring reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that the president's disclosures were "wholly appropriate."
Futures markets were largely unchanged following Tuesday's Times report.