Donald Trump's beleaguered White House was rocked Tuesday by a pair of explosive allegations - that he personally tried to quash an FBI investigation, and that he disclosed highly classified information to top Russian officials.
In dismissing Comey last week, Trump created the very real possibility that a respected law enforcement official known for an outspoken nature and willingness to buck political convention could resurface in public.
If Trump had the conversation with the FBI director that the New York Times says Comey's memo depicts, this would tell us that Trump's unhappiness with the investigation stemmed at least in part from a desire to protect Michael Flynn.
According to the Times, Comey wrote in the February memo that Trump told him Flynn had done nothing wrong.
According to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, they saw the memo but were not authorised to discuss it.
News has independently confirmed the Times report, along with additional details.
Mr Trump is scheduled to visit Israel next week - a trip that White House officials indicated would still go ahead.
The conversation about Flynn then followed.
Democrats immediately pounced on The Times' report and called on their GOP colleagues to push for the truth from the White House.
But Mr Comey did not say anything to Mr Trump about limiting the investigation. He called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate.
Comey, appointed director in 2013 by former President Barack Obama, replied to Trump's "good guy" remark by saying, "I agree he is a good guy", according to the paper. I think we know enough now. "We're not considering whose ox will be gored by this action or that action, whose fortunes will be helped by this or that - we just don't care and we can't care".
The Justice Department declined to comment.
President Trump says White House moving rapidly to replace Comey
"I think in many ways our institutions are under assault", Mr Clapper told CNN's Face the Nation on Sunday. Trump began by acknowledging the FBI investigation into Clinton helped him as a presidential candidate.
The newspaper said Comey was in the Oval Office that day with other national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. In 2007, years before his appointment as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, he recounted to a rapt congressional audience a dramatic hospital room clash three years earlier with fellow Bush administration officials over the approval of a domestic surveillance program.
"Obviously, we want a briefing from the White House", said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., "I don't know that it's important to have Comey testify, but it is important to get to the bottom of it".
Congressional Democrats were already concerned that Trump was trying to stifle a probe into possible coordination between his campaign and Russia's election meddling by firing Comey last week.
Comey was abruptly fired May 9 and learned of the dismissal as he was giving a talk in Los Angeles.
Flynn has sought immunity from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, with his lawyer saying in a statement in March that, "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit".
As reporters huddled off the House floor questioning GOP lawmakers about the Comey memos, another staunch Trump loyalist, Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, walked by and entered the elevator as he quipped: "Almost sounds like fake news".
Soon after the firing, a Comey associate told the AP that Comey recounted being asked by Trump at a January dinner if he would pledge his loyalty.
The White House says the report is "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey".
The existence of Trump's request is the clearest evidence the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and FBI investigation into links between Trump's associates and Russian Federation, the newspaper reported.
"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", the White House said in a statement.
Russian Federation has denied such meddling, and Trump bristles at any suggestion he owed his November 8 victory to Moscow.
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