Trump Denies Ever Urging Comey to Close Flynn Investigation

By Melanie Arter | May 19, 2017 | 10:57 AM EDT

President Donald Trump ( Arter)

( - President Donald Trump on Thursday denied that he in any way urged former FBI Director James Comey to back down from the investigation into former National Security Director Michael Flynn.

When asked whether he urged Comey “in any way, shape or form to close or to back down the investigation” into Flynn, Trump said, “No. No. Next question.”


“As you look back over the past six months or year, have you had any recollection where you've wondered if anything you have done has been something that might be worthy of criminal charges in these investigations or impeachment, as some on the left are implying?” a reporter asked.

“I think it’s totally ridiculous. Everybody thinks so, and again, we have to get back to working our country properly so that we can take care of the problems that we have. We have plenty of problems,” Trump said during a joint White House press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

“We've done a fantastic job. We have a tremendous group of people. Millions and millions of people out there that are looking at what you had just said, and said, ‘What are they doing?’” he said.

The president said when he decided to fire Comey, he thought “it would be a bipartisan decision,” because even Democrats were saying “terrible things” about Comey.

“Director Comey was very unpopular with most people.  I actually thought when I made that decision -- and I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein - but when I made that decision, I actually thought that it would be a bipartisan decision, because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side -- not only the Republican side -- they were saying such terrible things about Director Comey,” he said.

“Then he had the very poor performance on Wednesday. That was a poor, poor performance.  So poor, in fact, that I believe -- and you’d have to ask him, because I don't like to speak for other people -- but I believe that's why the Deputy Attorney General went out and wrote his very, very strong letter,” the president said.

“And then, on top of that, after the Wednesday performance by Director Comey, you had a person come and have to readjust the record, which many people have never seen before, because there were misstatements made, and I thought that was something that was terrible,” he said.

“We need a great director of the FBI. I cherish the FBI. It’s special. All over the world, no matter where you go, the FBI is special. The FBI has not had that special reputation with what happened in the campaign, what happened with respect to the Clinton campaign, and even you could say -- directly or indirectly -- with respect to the much more successful Trump campaign,” Trump said.

“We're going to have a director who is going to be outstanding. I’ll be announcing that director very soon, and I look forward to doing it. I think the people in the FBI will be very, very thrilled,” he said.

“And just in concluding, we look forward to getting this whole situation behind us so that when we go for the jobs, we go for the strong military, when we go for all of the things that we've been pushing so hard and so successfully, including healthcare -- because Obamacare is collapsing.  It’s dead; it’s gone,” Trump said.

“There’s nothing to compare anything to because we don't have healthcare in this country. You just look at what’s happening. Aetna just pulled out. Other insurance companies are pulling out. We don't have health care. Obamacare is a fallacy. It’s gone. We need health care,” he said.

The president said that cutting taxes will bring back jobs and companies to the U.S.

“We need to cut taxes.  We're going to cut taxes. Forget what I want; it will be the biggest tax cut in the history of our nation, and that's what I want. It’s going to bring back companies. It’s going to bring back jobs. We lost so many jobs and so many companies to countries that are not so far from you, Mr. President -- they're very close to you, actually -- and to many other places throughout the world. We're going to change that. We're going to have expansion,” he said.

“We already do. You look at what’s happening with Ford and with General Motors in Michigan and Ohio. You look at the tremendous number of jobs that are being announced in so many different fields. That's what I’m proud of, and that's what we want to focus our energy on,” the president said.

Trump said denied that there was collusion with Russia, adding that even his enemies have said there was no collision.

“The other is something I can only tell you:  There was no collusion.  And everybody -- even my enemies have said, there is no collusion,” he said. “So we want to get back and keep on thetrack that we're on, because the track that we're on is record-setting, and that's what we want to do, is we want to break very positive records.”