In another twist in the deepening intrigue of the 2016 presidential election, special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has reportedly uncovered corroborating evidence that President Donald Trump pressured former FBI Director James Comey to end the inquiry into Russian meddling in the election before abruptly firing him in May 2017.
According to Inquisitr, the report, released by The New York Times Jan. 4, details that Mueller is in possession of handwritten notes from former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus regarding Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The notes detail Priebus' conversations with Trump, which describe the president as strongly encouraging Comey to make an official public statement declaring that Trump himself was not under investigation.
Comey testified that the conversation had indeed taken place when he appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017.
Comey also offered details of the president inviting him to dinner and asking if he could count on his loyalty during his testimony.
In the days leading up to Comey's firing, according to The New York Times, Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to dig up dirt on Comey in an effort to find some justification to fire the FBI director.
Also included in the report was a second claim that the president directed White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II to stop Sessions' recusal from the Russian investigation.
Sessions ultimately did recuse himself -- despite McGahn's alleged effort -- and Trump was enraged by Sessions' decision, according to The Hill. In July 2017, Trump told The New York Times he would have never have given Sessions the attorney general post had he known the former Alabama senator was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
The blockbuster report was released the day before Michael Wolff's explosive book, "Fire and the Fury: Inside the Trump White House," went on sale. Release was pushed up four days by the publisher due to overwhelming demand.
Another tidbit of intrigue made available before the book's release gives details about a spokesman for Trump's legal team who allegedly stepped down in summer 2017 after he believed the president had committed obstruction of justice.
The incident related to a memo that Trump dictated aboard Air Force One, which would ultimately be used by first son Donald Trump Jr. as justification for a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan in summer 2016.
The meeting with Russian representatives was attended by Donald Trump, Jr., the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
The White House has countered with an official statement that Wolff's book is a collection of "false and misleading information."