They reinforce Trump’s widely reported obsession with pinning down leakers, his desire to protect his own reputation at all costs, and his preoccupation with loyalty. They also reveal snippets of conversation difficult to imagine happening inside the sanctum of the leader of the free world.
Here are some of the nuttiest parts:
Trump had doubts about Michael Flynn from the start.
The president felt his first national security adviser Michael Flynn had “serious judgment issues” after finding out that Flynn didn’t alert him soon enough to a congratulatory call from a world leader, according to Comey.
He made the comment during a lunch with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, whom Trump thanked for being the first world leader to call him and express her congratulations. Flynn, according to Comey, then told the president that another world leader had actually called first. Though the name was redacted in Comey’s memos, that person was Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to both The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press.
Trump on Friday responded to the memo, assailing Comey for making notes “so General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed.”
Flynn resigned on Feb. 13, 2017, after lying to the vice president about his contacts with Russian officials before Trump entered office. He has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Trump floated locking journalists up to find leakers.
“The president then wrapped up our conversation by returning to the issue of finding leakers,” Comey wrote in a memo dated Feb. 14, 2017. Comey talked about the difficulty of pinpointing leakers and “the value of putting a head on a pike as a message.” Trump “replied by saying it may involve putting reporters in jail.”
“They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk,” Comey quoted the president as saying.
Reince Priebus asked the FBI if it was keeping tabs on Flynn.
Then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus met with Comey on Feb. 8, 2017, Comey wrote, and asked whether the FBI was wiretapping Flynn.
“Do you have a FISA order on Mike Flynn?” Priebus reportedly said, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“I explained that it was important that communications about any particular case go through that channel to protect us and to protect the [White House] from any accusations of improper influence,” Comey said.
Putin bragged to Trump about Russian hookers.
Comey and Trump discussed the infamous “pee tape” dossier, he wrote in a memo dated Feb. 8, 2017. “The President brought up the ‘Golden Showers thing’ and said it really bothered [him] if his wife had any doubt about it.”
Comey was referring to the dossier’s reported rumor that Trump had hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed during a trip to Russia. Trump told Comey it was “nonsense,” but acknowledged Putin told him “we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.”
Trump kept asking about Andrew McCabe.
The president asked Comey whether Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director who Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired last month, had an issue with him on several occasions, according to the memos.
“I was pretty rough on him and his wife during the campaign,” Trump reportedly said, referring to his attacks on McCabe about the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email and political donations McCabe’s wife received from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
Comey wrote that he responded that McCabe had no issue with Trump. “I again affirmed Andy’s ability and professionalism and said the president would come to see and benefit from both.”
Read Comey’s memos below:
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated Trump fired Andrew McCabe. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him. Due to an editing error, this story also indicated Flynn was under indictment. In fact, he has entered a guilty plea.