FLASHBACK: Comey Testifies 'I Don't Think It's for Me to Say' if Trump Obstructed Justice With Request About Flynn

Comey said in new interview Flynn conversation was 'possibly' obstruction

April 16, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey said last year "I don't think it's for me to say" whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice when he said he hoped Comey could let go of an investigation into Michael Flynn, but in an interview that aired Sunday, he told ABC host George Stephanopoulos it was "possibly" obstruction.

Comey recounted to George Stephanopoulos a Feb. 14, 2017, conversation when he claims Trump told him he "hoped" he could let an investigation into Flynn go. Flynn had just been fired as national security adviser for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition.

According to Comey, Trump spoke to him alone in the Oval Office, telling him Flynn was a "good guy" and that he hoped the FBI could let him go. Comey said he took the conversation as a "direction" to drop the investigation into Flynn's Russian contacts and it was "possibly" obstruction of justice.

"It's certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice," he said.

In contrast, Comey said during his testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 that he couldn't say whether Trump's request about Flynn constituted obstruction.

"In your estimation, was General Flynn at that time in serious legal jeopardy, and, in addition to that, do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way for Mike Flynn to save face, given he had already been fired?" Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) asked.

"I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct," Comey said. "I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning. But that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense."

In his opening statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey said of the Flynn conversation, "I did not understand the president to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign."