[5/17/17] President Trump has called reporters dishonest, said the media is “the enemy of the American people,” and mused about making it easier to sue journalists. And, according to a new report, he has gone even further than that in private, telling then-FBI Director James Comey that Comey should consider locking reporters up.
Trump said this to Comey during a meeting in the Oval Office in February, according to a New York Times report Tuesday. The request came during the same meeting in which Trump is said to have asked Comey to drop the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, potentially interfering with the investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials.
Comey’s account of the meeting was documented in a memo he prepared afterward, first reported by the Times. CNN has confirmed the existence of the memo and the fact that it says Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation, but has not yet confirmed the request regarding reporters, which the Times reported on based on an “associate” of Comey’s reading it to the Times reporter.
The White House did not initially respond when asked Tuesday to address the president’s remark about imprisoning reporters. It did release a statement saying reports about Comey’s memo did not offer “a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey,” and that the president “never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn.”
On Wednesday, a White House official said to CNN that Comey’s reported recollection of the part of his conversation with Trump regarding reporters is inaccurate.