President Donald Trump's apparent attempts to get federal
investigators to stop looking into his former national security
adviser may have gone further than initial reports indicated.
Trump in March asked the Director of National Intelligence, Dan
Coats, for his help to convince then-FBI Director James Comey to
back off of Michael Flynn, The Washington Post
reported Tuesday night.
The Post's Adam Entous wrote that Trump and several government
officials met for a briefing at the White House on March 22.
After the meeting, Trump asked everyone to leave the room, except
for Coats and Mike Pompeo, who heads the CIA.
"The president then started complaining about the FBI
investigation and Comey’s handling of it," The Post reported.
Trump's complaints came just days after Comey confirmed in a
hearing before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI is
looking into possible collusion
between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Trump previously asked Comey to drop the investigation into
Flynn, according to a memo Comey wrote about the conversation
that was cited by The New York Times. Trump fired Comey on May 9
and later signaled in interviews that he had the Russia
investigation in mind when he decided to make the move.
Flynn is one of several key players in a broad US investigation
of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. Flynn was forced to
resign as Trump's national security adviser in February after
misleading top administration officials, including Vice President
Mike Pence, about multiple contacts he had with the Russian
ambassador during the transition.
Flynn also drew scrutiny for his appearance at a Moscow gala
hosted by the state-sponsored outlet Russia Today in 2015. At the
gala, Flynn was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Flynn was paid about $33,000 for a speech he gave at the event,
but he did not disclose that payment on his security clearance
application in 2016.
Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner
has also been under the FBI's microscope for his own
interactions with Russian diplomats and business figures in
Some legal experts and critics have suggested that Trump's
alleged appeals to turn investigators off Flynn's trail and the
timing of his firing Comey could skirt close to obstruction of
justice. To date, neither Trump, nor anyone associated with his
campaign has been formally accused of any wrongdoing.