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Comey memos: Trump asked for "honest loyalty"

Last Updated Apr 20, 2018 8:20 AM EDT

Capitol Hill has received redacted versions of former FBI Director James Comey's memos, after President Trump approved their transmission, sources tell CBS News. Two sources familiar with the matter told CBS News' chief White House correspondent Major Garrett the president approved the transmission after receiving recommendations from top Justice Department officials.

Mr. Trump tweeted late Thursday night that the memos "show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION."

CBS News has obtained a redacted version of the memos. At the top of the first memo, Comey writes: "What follows are my notes I typed in the vehicle immediately upon exiting Trump Tower on 1/6/17."

As Comey wrote in his book, he details how Mr. Trump had asked him about alleged "golden shower" tape. But Comey also details how Mr. Trump started talking about the women who "falsely accused" him of allegedly grabbing or touching them, with mentioning in particular a "stripper."

In his memo about the second meeting with Mr. Trump -- this meeting took place at the White House -- Comey writes how Mr. Trump asked about his future, saying "so what do you want to do?" Comey writes that Mr. Trump told him "about 20 people" wanted Comey's job, but Mr. Trump said he would understand if Comey "wanted to walk away after all he had been through."

Comey also writes that Mr. Trump asked whether "your guy McCabe" -- who Mr. Trump later fired -- has "a problem with me."

Comey recounts the conversation where the president asked for loyalty, Comey offered honesty, and Mr. Trump asked for "honest loyalty."

Mr. Trump raised concerns about former national security adviser Michael Flynn's judgment, telling Comey on Jan. 28, 2017, that Flynn neglected for six days to tell him of a congratulatory call from an undisclosed/redacted foreign leader, bringing it up only when Mr. Trump was toasting the British prime minister and thanking her for her call.  "The guy has serious judgment issues," Mr. Trump is quoted as saying.

On Feb. 8, Priebus asked Comey if the FBI had a FISA warrant on Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Comey said he hesitated but gave Priebus an answer on the spot before urging him to go through "the established channels" to glean such information in the future.

Comey recounts that Mr. Trump, Priebus and Kushner each brought up his handling of the Clinton email investigation.  In Feb. 8 meeting in Priebus' office, Priebus asked Comey to explain why Clinton's actions didn't rise to criminal "gross negligence."

Mr. Trump was extremely focused on finding leakers, and hoped to get Comey and the FBI engaged in the hunt. On Feb. 14, 2017, Comey writes Mr.  Trump told him "we need to go after the reporters," referencing the case of Judith Miller.  Ten or 15 years ago "we put them in jail to find out what they know, and it worked," Comey quotes Mr. Trump as saying.

The memos were requested by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, and House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California.

Comey, who was fired by Mr. Trump in May, has begun a tour to tout his new book, "A Higher Loyalty," which describes his time as FBI director and the time period surrounding his firing. In the book, Comey describes Mr. Trump as "untethered to truth," and Mr. Trump's leadership style as "ego driven and about personal loyalty."

In response, Mr. Trump has fired off a handful of tweets about Comey, calling him a "weak and untruthful slime ball."

"It was my great honor to fire James Comey," Mr. Trump tweeted over the weekend.

Comey's memos, some of which he leaked to a friend for release to the media, influenced Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's decision to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to Trump associates.

CBS News' Rebecca Kaplan and Caroline Linton contributed to this report.

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.