President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.
The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.
Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.
Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of the memo to a Times reporter.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
That would be the ballgame if any of this actually mattered to the GOP. But we will get platitudes and bleating about "concern" and the Republicans will talk tough, but in the end none of them will lift a finger. The worst of them will simply dismiss Comey's memo as meaningless, which I'm sure will make the FBI and rest of the intelligence community have a fit, but they can't really do anything about Trump either.
Republicans immediately want Comey to testify, and it is there, almost certainly behind closed doors, where this story will die.
Eventually somebody will talk Trump into pulling the trigger on pardons, and that will be it. What voters will do is anyone's guess. After all, we elected him knowing full well who and what he was.
We're deep into authoritarian crisis mode now. Either the GOP acts, or the voters will have to.
I'm not sure either group will even give a damn.