Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Trump denies ever urging Comey to back off Flynn investigation

Trump spoke alongside Colombian President Juan Santos - though the progress made during a work session at the White House between representatives of the two countries took a back seat to the wave of political controversies blanketing the Trump administration.

That did not appear to make a difference to Mr. Trump, who reiterated that he thinks the investigation is "a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election that they should have easily won because of the Electoral College being slanted so much in their way".

The man tasked with investigating possible meddling by Russian Federation in the 2016 presidential election - a probe that will likely encompass President Trump's recent firing of FBI Director James Comey - once called Comey "one of the finest people I've ever met". Flynn had been kept on the job for 18 days after the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, had warned the White House that he could be subject to blackmail from the Russians because he had misled Pence.

The White House says Comey's contemporaneous recollection of his discussions with Trump are not accurate, while some legal experts say that if true, Trump's efforts to end the Flynn probe could be construed as obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense. The FBI is investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including looking into any possible links between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.

He also denied he urged Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, telling reporters, "No, no".

Several weeks after his inauguration, President Trump contacted James Comey, then the FBI director, and asked him when federal authorities planned on spreading the word that he was not personally under investigation, two people with knowledge of the call told The New York Times.

Flynn is at the center of that investigation. On Thursday morning, Yahoo reported that Trump has remained in contact with Flynn following his departure from his national security adviser post. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, will lead that investigation.

To prepare for his trip, Trump has been meeting with briefers including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

But Flynn apparently gave indications that he is not going to turn on Trump.

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