The New York Times has released an exclusive report that US President Donald Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to drop the agency's investigation into his former National Security Advisor.
In an apparent attempt to influence and ongoing FBI investigation, US President Donald Trump asked his former FBI Director, James Comey, to drop investigations into his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, the New York Times has reported.
“I hope you can let this go,” Donald Trump said, according to a memo drafted by Mr Comey after the meeting, the paper reported.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” President Trump said, according to the report.
“He is a good guy.”
The meeting reportedly occurred the day after Michael Flynn was asked to resign after misleading the White House about the nature of his contact with the Russian Ambassador.
"The memo was part of a paper trail Mr Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation," the paper reported.
Hours after the news broke, Republican Chairman of a congressional oversight committee demanded the FBI turn over all memos written by Comey about his interactions with the president.
After President Trump fired the former FBI Director last week, the president appeared to warn him via Twitter not to speak with the media.
The New York Times did not reveal its sources, and said it had not seen the memo, though said it had spoken to two people who read the memo - one of whom read sections to a Times reporter.
The publication earlier reported that President Trump had asked Mr Comey to pledge his loyalty during a private dinner, a claim the president has since denied.
Mr Comey reportedly declined the pledge, considering it inappropriate, and also declined the apparent request to shutter the Flynn investigation.
The White House has denied that President Trump was placing pressure on Comey.
“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” it said in a statement to the Times.
Mr Trump's relationship with the FBI has come under increasing scrutiny following his sacking of the agency's director last week.
In testimony before a Congressional committee in March, Mr Comey had confirmed the agency was conducting an investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, including potential links between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign - issues the president has described as "fake news".
While White House spokespeople strenuously denied Mr Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation, President Trump later confirmed it was on his mind as he made the decision.
"In fact when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said: 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won'," he told NBC interviewer Lester Holt.
President Trump has been under fire this week following a story by the Washington Post that he revealed highly classified information to the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador in an Oval Office meeting with the pair the day after he dismissed Mr Comey.
Trump speaks on why he fired FBI Director James Comey